Itagar, March 24: As Indian and Chinese officials were busy holding talks to resolve long ensuing border issues, retired senior army officials here were asserting their view that the tribal folklore of the state proves Aruchal Pradesh was never part of Chi. Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Lieutent General (retd) J R Mukherjee who is currently president of the Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regiol Studies, Kolkata (CENERS-K) informed that the think-tank would organize a two-day semir from March 25 entitled 'Voices from Aruchal: India-Chi Border Problems and Related Folklore' at the Rajiv Gandhi University on the city outskirts.
The focus of the semir would be to highlight oral folklore that has passed down from generations and what Mukherjee and others from CENERS-K believe flies against Chinese claim over Aruchal Pradesh. rrating an incident when he was serving as a garrison commander in the state during the 1970's, Mukherjee said that an old villager from the Siang area once said "our land is beyond what the government says" in reference to the McMahon Line. The retired lieutent general said the aim of the semir is to "document folklores which capture the sentiments and history relating to the border areas" and that "there are no lines on the ground".
"As far as I am concerned, Aruchal was never part of Chi," he said.
Major General (retd) Arun Roye who is currently the centre's executive director, said that India lives in a tough neighbourhood and that its stance on the issue must be strong.
"If we show weakness, our neighbours will try to take advantage," Roye said. Ironically, the former army man feels that "war is obsolete" and that he "would be happy if the de facto borders become de jure".
Roye also said that a solution to the border issue can only come about from the three "Cs of co-operation, competition and compromise".
"We are already co-operating and competing on the trade and economic front. A compromise will have to be made on a settlement that is acceptable and honourable to both countries," Roye said.
He also stated that the timing of the semir coinciding with the talks in New Delhi was not deliberate and that it is "not an extension of any political agenda".