Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Exploring options to tackle China


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much.

Mains level: Paper 2- Options in dealing with China

There are several options which India could explore in dealing with China with less cost but significant effectiveness. Diplomacy is one of them. What are the other options? Read the article to know…


  • China’s aggression and Galwan valley incident dismantles the Border Agreements of 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2013.
  • Understanding China’s objectives become critical in this situation.

Analysing China’s objectives

  • Humbling India in the eyes of Asia and the world was all important for China.
  • Despite China’s territorial aggression, it would be a mistake to think that China is preparing for a conflict over territory.
  • China is well aware that it cannot be certain whether it will emerge a victor from an all-out conflict with India.
  •  China cannot afford to jeopardise its future for the present.
  • China has been intent on transforming the Asian region in its own image, and, simultaneously, seeking to become a continental and a maritime power.

What are the options to deal with China

  • India may well find non-military tools not only more cost-effective but also less risky.
  • 1)  Exploiting the current widespread opposition to China, India must try to create international opinion in its support regarding border violations.
  • 2) Cultivation of foreign leaders with a view to draw their specific attention to China’s aggressive policies and designs is the second option.
  • India’s involvement with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) should prove invaluable in this respect.
  • 3) India must also overhaul its ‘messaging’ capacity.
  • It should make greater use of technology to send across its message and ideas in its vicinity and across the globe, highlighting its peaceful intentions in stark contrast to China’s aggressive policies and tactics.
  • 4)  India must pay particular attention to relations with countries in its neighbourhood, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, and allies such as Iran and Vietnam.
  • Relationship with these countries seems to have frayed at the edges, with India being more intent on strengthening relations with the West.
  • Smaller countries of Asia, which constantly face China’s aggressive interference in their internal affairs, have not received much support from India, and this needs India’s attention.
  • 5) India’s true strength is its unity in diversity. A truly united and resilient India is the best antidote to China’s attempts to humble India.
  • China has never been able to properly understand, the strength India seems to derive from its spiritual, religious and cultural attributes, which are a part of its civilisational heritage.
  • 6) India would do well to take pole position in propagating ‘Himalayan Buddhism’ which China has been seeking to subvert to achieve its ends.

Consider the question “To counter the challenges manifested by China through recent events India needs to explore along with other options the subtler tools of power available to it. Examine the other tools available with India.”


Military no doubt project the country’s power but there are other options with less cost and significant benefits. India should focus on these options as well while dealing with China.

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