China India Border Disputes: some ideas

Jerry Grey
4 min readJun 8, 2023


Welcome back to part 2 of my special Jerry’s Take on China answering two questions, part one was related to my own views on Taiwan, here are some comments about the border disputes with India.

The border dispute with India is very interesting to me, there is a lot more than just rocks and desert, there are minerals and there’s water there.

The source of the dispute is a line drawn in 1914 by the British and handed over to India in 1947 when the colonialists left. Bear in mind they left with a disaster. At least one million people died and over 15 million were displaced by lines drawn by British cartographers so we do know that the Brits weren’t very thoughtful about where they drew their lines.

There are still disputes inside India going on because of these lines: Kashmir is one, Punjab is another and Bengal needed a Civil War to get independence from Pakistan in the most ridiculous and mind-boggling British decision where they created one country called Pakistan and divided it into two parts, separated by 1000 miles of India.

The British, whether it was deliberate or negligent, have done the Indo China region no favours at all and the 1914 McMahon line was no exception.

For this reason. A joint economic decision that transcends politics would be what I would aim for — create a region in the same way that the Special Economic Zones were created to allow opening to the world. Have both Indian and Chinese laws operable in a hybrid way and exploit the water and other resources in a way that’s beneficial to both countries

This may seem strange but China has a precedent in three different regions in Guangdong: Hengqin, Qianhai and Nansha. In these regions, international finance, IP protection and health protection laws exist. They are all in the Mainland but they all have dual recognition of qualifications and skills to allow people living and working there to operate as if they are in HK or Macau.

Trade through there goes through one custom check and leaves China through HK or Macau without being slowed down by a secondary check, passengers transiting through from Macau into Hengqin can be single checked, they don’t leave Macau and enter China, they do both at the same checkpoint

There were many reports in Western media, gleefully, I think suggesting that HK was suffering from a reduction in trade because the shipping figures from the Special Economic Region were down and this was true, but at the same time, there was an increase in financial value of trade which the reports “forgot” to mention.

This is because a new fully automated inter-modal port in Nansha was opened and much of the trade normally leaving HK, left through Nansha, as part of this Deep Cooperation Zone. HK economy isn’t suffering, it’s getting more efficient and able to transit products straight out of the Mainland.

Many would argue that this is a system that only exists internally as both HK and Macau are parts of China but, until 1997 and 1999 respectively, they were not, they were completely different legislative and administrative colonies of other sovereign nations. They are now still completely different legislative and administrative entities under what’s known as One Country, Two Systems and it works.

It’s a most unusual but internationally acceptable process. Even I as a foreigner can go to Hengqin and officially enter Macau without going through the process of leaving China and then the additional process of entering Macau, which I can’t do through other border checkpoints, if I go to Gong Bei to cross into Macau, I need to check out of China and then check into Macau, the same applies in Luohu, if I want to go to Hong Kong but through these Cooperation Zones of Qianhai and Hengqin, it’s easier.

A system such as this, with India and China cooperating, could become known as Two Countries. One System and require a lot of agreement between India and China. It’s been suggested that perhaps Putin could be the negotiator of it and there’s a lot to be said for that. Both India and China have good relationships with Russia and, if an agreement such as this could be handled without rancour then it’s likely it would lead to even greater cooperation.

Other countries in the region such as Nepal, Bhutan and even Bangladesh could benefit from stability in the region, particularly if train lines or roads are built into and through what is currently disputed territory, it would also boost tourism from both major countries thereby helping with poverty alleviation.

An arrangement such as this would boost trade, tourism, relationships and the economy of both countries but more especially lift the region from impoverishment and, most important of all: without outside interference, it would work!

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Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences