- Recent developments
- What’s different this time?
- Problems in China
- Easing of Tensions
- Way Forward
China’s Conflict With India & World
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The armies of the world’s two most populous nations are locked in a tense face-off high in the Himalayas. India and China have moved troops and ammunition on the Line of Actual Control. The US President Trump has offered to mediate between the countries, which was rejected by both sides.
- Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff since May 5 following a violent clash of the People’s Liberation Army with Indian side in Pangong Tso.
- The clashes between border troops in the Nathu La sector Sikkim started on May 9.
- The violent confrontations in eastern Ladakh and north Sikkim triggered a military build-up on both sides of the LAC that stretched from Ladakh to Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- China has reiterated that the Pangong Lake area in eastern Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops are at a standoff, is “entirely located” in its territory.
- Following the move, China has tightened the control of Galvan Valley in Aksai Chin area.
- China has accused India of crossing the boundary line in the Galvan Valley region and entering Chinese territory.
- India has always maintained that Aksai Chin is an Indian territory illegally occupied by China.
What’s different this time?
The skirmishes between the two countries are often seen. But the current stand-off is way different.
1. Coordinated move:
- Nathu La sector (Sikkim), Pangong lake (Ladakh) and Galvan Valley (Aksai Chin) along the LAC are geographically different areas.
- The standoff in these different regions cannot be planned at local commander level.
- It seems to be a well planned and coordinated move by top political and military brass before the first reported incident in Pangong lake on May 5.
2. Huge deployment:
- The regions have seen huge troops and ammunition deployment as compared to past skirmishes.
- Chinese choppers flew near the Line of Actual Control after which the Indian Air Force has also scrambled fighter jets in the region.
3. Undiplomatic stance:
- The diplomatic engagement and statements by Chinese diplomats have no sobriety and are coercive.
- The standoff seems to be a conscious decision despite heavy criticism of China in mishandling COVID-19 situation.
Problems in China:
1. External Pressure:
- China is under the scanner of the world for being the epicentre of the COVID-19 breakout and mishandling the situation.
- Many countries around the world including the US have made alliances against China and are building pressure in the World Health Assembly to find the origin of Virus.
- The anti-China situation is also over other issues like sedition bill in Hongkong, protests in Taiwan and human rights violations by the country.
2. Internal Pressure:
- Mainland China for the first time in decades is openly raising voices against the incumbent Xi Jinping government.
- The furore is due to increased surveillance by the government on academicians, intellectuals and students.
- Further, the Chinese promise of One China in 2021 is far from reality, due to the disenchantment of Hongkong, Taiwan.
- The current standoff could be a move to divert the world attention from the pressing issues in China.
Easing of Tensions:
- China has recently released propaganda videos to show its military preparations near the disputed areas to build a psychological pressure on India.
- However, the disengagement of its troops in eastern Ladakh have shown India’s global diplomatic might.
- Chinese troops had advanced on four positions on the Line of Actual Control; three in the Galvan Valley and one in Pangong Lake, where the troops of both the nations were face to face.
- Now, from three places in the Galvan Valley, Chinese troops have gone back nearly two and a half kilometres.
- The Chinese troops had earlier reached Finger 4 of Pangong Lake in Ladakh and confronted the Indian soldiers.
- India and China are continuing diplomatic and military engagements for an early resolution of the stand-off between border troops.
- India should firmly stand to maintain the national sovereignty.
- The status quo on the LAC and disputed areas should be maintained and the diplomatic channels must be open to pursue the talks further for permanent resolution.
- The infrastructural development around the strategic areas along the LAC must be continued to give an edge to the armed forces and country in case of war like situation.
- India should resolve the issue bilaterally by seeking peaceful solutions without the need to risk the lives of armed forces plus burdening the economy.
India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC with China claiming Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet. The current provocative stand of China requires India to be patient but firm enough to maintain its territory. The political leaders and diplomats have an arduous path ahead to move forward with strong diplomacy to retain the status quo and seek permanent solutions.