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Chronology of Major Events 2009 - Page 6

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Chronology of Major Events 2009
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China

Strategic Profile

20 January:China issued a white paper on national defence, titled “National Defence in 2008” in which it for the first time specified in detail China’s long-standing policy of no first use of nuclear weapons.

20 February:Communist Party of China signed an agreement with Pakistan’s main Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami. As part of the agreement the Jamaat-e-Islami promised not to encourage Islamic Uighur separatists in the Xinjiang region. 

1 March:China’s Chang’e-1, the first satellite for lunar probe landed on moon. The satellite ended its16-month mission when it hit the lunar surface at 1.50 degrees south latitude and 52.36 degree east longitude.

4 March:Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for China’s parliament, stated that China added $9.1 billion to its military budget bringing the total outlay for 2009 to $70.2 billion.

10 March: China lodged objection to U.S. Navy vessel USNS Impeccable which conducted activities in China’s special economic zone in the South China sea without its permission. It demanded that the US put an immediate stop to related activities and take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening.

12 March: The US and China agreed on the need to reduce tensions and avoid a repeat of a confrontation between American and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi agreed that similar episodes should be avoided in the future.

1 April: China and France announced an agreement to restore high-level contacts and promote bilateral cooperation following a lengthy spat over Tibet. As part of the agreement France also pledged not to support Tibetan independence in any form.

1 April: Chinese President Hu Jintao and his American counterpart Barack Obama held their first meeting in London, where they vowed to work together to deal with the global economic crisis.

16 April:China disclosed a massive naval expansion plan to give its warships longer reach capabilities by building new generation of sea craft, including stealth submarines, supersonic cruise aircrafts and longer range missiles.

23 June: Defence officials from the US and China met for the first time in 18 months at a time when the strategic relationship between the two countries faced strains from the security situation in North Korea and a spate of naval confrontations.

5 July: At least 156 people were killed and more than 800 injured following ethnic violence in Urumqi, the capital of China’s western province of Xinjiang.

14 July: The Algeria based terror group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) declared that it will target Chinese interests in North Africa to avenge the violence against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. 

13 October:China and Russia signed trade deals worth $3.5 billion during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s three-day visit to Beijing.

18 November: During U.S. President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to China (16-18 November) the two countries pledged to work together to fight protectionism but appeared to make little progress on resolving differences over China’s currency policies.

18 November:China settled another long drawn dispute over land with Vietnam. The two countries signed a package of agreements on the demarcation of their 1,300km border and also agreed to solve pending disputes over their naval boundaries through talks.

31 December: Offering six proposals to promote peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship with Taiwan, Chinese President Hun Jintao said that China was willing to discuss with Taiwan proper and reasonable arrangements for Taiwan’s participation in international organisations. 

Relations with India

4 February: Indian defence sources said that no Indian submarine had “stalked” any Chinese Navy destroyer in the Gulf of Aden and dismissed reports in this regard published in a section of the Chinese media.

28 March:External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and China’s observations about the state are absolutely untenable. Mukherjee’s comments were significant in the background of reports that China had objected to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) granting loan to Arunachal Pradesh for two projects.

20 April:According to a media report, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) rejected China’s request to induct its navy in some form into the 33-member Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) initiative started by India in 2008. The MEA said there was no strategic rationale to let China be associated with IONS as it was strictly restricted to littoral states of the Indian Ocean.

30 May:During the military-level talks on anti-piracy cooperation between Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Chinese Deputy Chief of the General Staff Ma Xiaotian on the sidelines of Asian Security Summit in Singapore, India and China explored new proposals for cooperation in the ongoing anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

15 June:Despite strong dissent from China, India scored a major diplomatic victory at the ADB board meeting as US, Japan and other members voted in favour of approval of the $2.9 billion India plan.

16 June:Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Yekaterinburg, Russia, to review bilateral relations, reiterate their intention of pursuing closer ties and give a fresh push to their high-level dialogue on the disputed boundary between the two countries.

9 July: India officially confirmed for the first time that China had blocked India’s development plan at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) because it contained a $60 million project for Arunachal Pradesh.

22 July: India and China resolved to further deepen ties, especially in bilateral trade. On the sidelines of a conference of Foreign Ministers of two-dozen countries in Phuket, Thailand, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi also agreed to be in close touch on major issues such as climate change, the Doha round of trade talks and the global financial crisis.

8 August: The 13th Round of India-China Special Representatives talks ended in New Delhi with both side expressing satisfaction at the progress being made on the boundary question. The two countries also agreed to set up a hotline between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

25 August: Jujian Hua, a Chinese foreign ministry official, said that New Delhi could re-open its consulate in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, any time it wants. The consulate was closed following 1962 India-China war.

31 August: Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor admitted that a Chinese military helicopter had violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh area on 21 June.

6 September: Fresh intrusions by China’s People’s Liberation Army troops into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir were reported. According to media reports, the Chinese troops entered nearly 1.5 kilometres into the Indian territory near Mount Gya, recognized as International border by India and China, and painted the boulders and rocks with red spray paint.

1 October:Responding to media reports about the Chinese embassy issuing stamped visas to some Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir on separate sheet of paper and not on their passport, India asked China to ensure that there was no discrimination against visa applicants of Indian nationality on grounds of domicile or ethnicity.

14 October: India advised China to take a long-term view of Sino-Indian relations and to “cease” undertaking infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

25 October:Rebuffing China’s wish that India bar Dalai Lama from traveling to Arunachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo that the spiritual leader was an ‘honoured guest’.

27 October:Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi decided to step up dialogue between the two countries to build trust at several levels on the sidelines of the trilateral Russia, India and China (RIC) dialogue in Bangalore.

3 November:The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) confirmed the construction of dam at the Zangmu site on the Chinese side of the Brahmaputra River. The confirmation prompted the government to take up the matter with China at a political level.

5 November:Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said that China would not undertake dam projects on the Brahmaputra River that would damage India’s interests.

8 November:Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on his arrival in Arunachal Pradesh criticized China for objecting to his visit to Tawang and expressed surprise over its claim to the border town of Tawang.

10 November:The Chinese government accused New Delhi of disregarding China’s grave concerns by allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

30 November:The Indian Express reported that the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah stated that his government had stopped work on a road project under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Demchok in southeast Leh in Ladakh after the Chinese army objected.

10 December:Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to harmonise positions of both countries on climate change.



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