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A MODIFIED CAKE-CUTTING PARADIGM FOR FAIR DIVISION OF DISPUTED TERRITORIES|
One way for India and China to solve the border problem is a variation of the Cake-Cutting-Paradigm, in which one claimant cuts the cake as fairly as it believes it could do, and the other chooses the half it wants. The cutter is assumed to divide the cake as fairly as he can imagine. The chooser is assumed to choose the half that it is satisfied with. After the second player has chosen, it is assumed that the cutter would be equally pleased with the part it is left with, because it had cut the cake as equally as it could. Thus the division is both fair and acceptable to both parties.
The problem with territories is that their orientation with respect to the two countries are asymmetrical, and natural features, such as rivers and mountains are not amenable to being cut into two. Furthermore, we have to consider the feelings of the current inhabitants of the respective regions, especially if they have mixed ethnic communities living side by side. How about the natural resources? Cultural significance of certain sites? As applied to geographical objects, the cake cutting paradigm becomes confounded by the shape, composition, and even the position of the cake itself with regard to the main center of mass of each of the two countries.
But, let us try to simplify the differences other than the very shape and size of the territory in question, by assigning them a monetary value. And let us then apply the cake cutting paradigm to the money to be assigned to all these attributes and values associated with a territory in question.
First, delineate the line of control as it exists on the ground at this very moment.
Second, delineate the boundaries of the land on each side of the line of control that is currently controlled by one side, but claimed by the other side. All such areas that are controlled by India but claimed by China, let them be designated A1, A2, A3, etc. All such areas controlled by China but claimed by India, likewise, should be designated B1, B2, B3, etc. Now, each such area A1, A2, A3, etc., by definition, is bounded by two curved lines, one being the existing line of control, and the other being the boundary of the fullest extent claimed by China. Likewise, B1, B2, B3 . . . are bounded by the line of control and the boundary of the area claimed by India next to that segment of the line of control.
Next, we assume that both sides are willing to concede such an area that it controls which is claimed by the other side, under certain circumstances to be defined. These preconditions can be enumerated as intrinsic, meaning as part of the entire set of terrtories in dispute, or extrinsic, meaning as values that the controlling side demands of the claimant side, such as money. investment, trade, etc. Unwilling as the controlling side may be to part with any disputed territory, it must specify the preconditions under which it would finally agree to give it to the other side. This is the equivalent of "the cutting of the cake" except that now, the cake being cut is not just land, but many other valued items with it. The cut is also not a clean cut, because of the linkages between one part with another part, but it is a start, and the linkages are made explicit, and thus more amenable to solution, rather than remaining hidden, and insoluble. Like a surgeon cutting through the skin, he encounters muscle, veins, arteries, nerves, ligaments, tendons and bone which require his scalpel to deviate from parts he wishes to leave intact for the patient, while he resects the part that is to be removed. Trade-offs are necessary if the operation is to be successful, in surgery and in territorial divisions.
In order to make the demand of the controlling side reasonable and fair, we must add a second requirement to the cake cutting protocol, which is that the controlling side must agree to pay or give to the claimant side what it demands if the claimant were to give up its claim. In other words, the demands of the controlling side will have to exactly balance the worth of the disputed territory, such that it would be indiffierent to either keeping the territory it now controls, or give it up to the other side in excchange for the list of things it demanded in its stead.
The third step is the choosing part of the protocol, where the claimant side has to decide if it wishes to pay the demands of the controlling side, or give up its claim and receive the value of what the controlling side has demanded as the fair value of the land in dispute.
One possible objection to this protocol is that the claimant may be dishonest in claiming a much larger territory than it originally intended to claim, as a result of knowledge of this protocol, in order to induce the controlling side to demand a higher reward for giving up the territory, only to end up having to pay this inflated amount to the claimant when the claimant chooses the reward rather than the land.
To overcome this very real objection, we need to add a fourth step. In the event that the claimant abandons his claim and chooses the reward, it must offer the controlling side the chance to choose between what it demands for the site if it were to give up its claim, and the site itself. Thus, if the claimant were dishonest, he would put up a price lower than the controlling side for the same piece of land, and the controlling side can then choose to keep the land, and pay the deflated price asked by the claimant for it.
When applied to all the disputed territories, A1, A2, A3, etc., and B1, B2, B3, B4, etc., the net result will be a transfer of land and of economic and other values between the two sides. Viewed as a barter trade mixed with monetary payments, the final deal will not guarantee that each side will get an equal amount of land as the other side got from it, but rather, it will nearly guarantee that each side will get a fair value for the land it gives to the other side and that such an exchange would be viewed as acceptable (or, indifferent to the alternative outcome).
In short, this modification of the Cake-Cutting-Paradigm actually compensates for the asymmetry of procedure in that the original paradigm has one side cutting and the other side choosing, while in this paradigm, the chooser of the first round is made honest by requring him to cut the cake a second time, and offer the controller a fair value for the land it claims.