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  • 03 Oct, 2024
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China to host 3rd Trans-Himalaya Forum Amid Border Tensions near Tibet`s Sensitive Border


China is preparing to host the 3rd Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation in Nyingchi, Tibet, and Pakistan's acting foreign minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani, is slated to join the event. Nyingchi's proximity to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh adds a significant dimension to this gathering, according to report.   

Report stated that Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani's participation in the 3rd Trans-Himalaya Forum is by special invitation from China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, and the event is scheduled to take place in Nyingchi, Tibet from October 4 to October 5, 2023.

The Trans-Himalaya Forum was initiated in 2018 to deepen practical cooperation among regional countries on diverse subjects including geographical connectivity, environmental protection, ecological preservation, and enhancing cultural linkages. The last in-person meeting of the Forum was held in 2019. The theme of this year’s Forum is “Ecological Civilization and Environmental Protection.”

During his stay in Tibet, Foreign Minister Jilani will address the Opening Ceremony of the Trans-Himalaya Forum. He will also meet with several regional dignitaries including the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, Foreign Minister of China and Interim Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, as per the Pakistan foreign ministry’s statement.

Nepal's Prime Minister Prachanda recently paid a visit to Lhasa, Tibet, marking a diplomatic move following the joint statement between Nepal and China. In the statement, Nepal reaffirmed that it considers Tibet affairs to be China's internal matter and committed to preventing any separatist activities on its soil, emphasizing the close relationship between the two neighboring nations.

Tibetans in Nepal for last two decades had been suppressed from many fundamental human rights by Nepali Government since the change in ruling party after the massacre of Nepali king and his family. 

Nyingchi, Tibet, holds significant importance for India due to its strategic location in the eastern Himalayas. Located adjacent to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Nyingchi shares a border with India, making it a crucial area for border security and geopolitical considerations. The region's proximity to the "McMahon Line," which defines the border between India and Tibet, has led to historical border disputes, and ongoing attention to this area is vital for India's national security interests.

Furthermore, Nyingchi's diverse and fragile ecosystem, including the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, the world's deepest gorge, also holds ecological importance for both India and the wider Himalayan region, emphasizing the need for cooperation in environmental conservation efforts.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh - which it calls South Tibet - as its territory. In August, in a move that drew international criticism, the Chinese issued a new "standard" map that included Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin region in eastern Ladakh.

In 2021, China renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh to reaffirm its claim on the state. India has rejected all claims made by China. The distance between Nyingchi and Arunachal Pradesh is 160 kms.

As geopolitical tensions continue to escalate along the border of Tibet, a region that has been a focal point of historical disputes, there are growing concerns about the negative implications for the Tibet. The ongoing border tensions between China and India have prompted an increased military presence and heightened security measures in Tibet. This militarization has implications for the safety and livelihoods of Tibetan residents, raising fears of potential disruptions to their daily lives.

The deployment of troops and infrastructure development along the border can have adverse effects on Tibet's fragile and pristine environment. Increased human activity, construction, and resource exploitation can threaten the region's unique ecosystems and biodiversity.

Tibet has been a focal point for discussions on human rights violations, particularly regarding the Tibetan population and their cultural and religious practices. Heightened security measures could exacerbate these concerns, potentially leading to further restrictions on freedom of movement and expression for Tibetans.

Edited and collated by Team TRC