Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Why the India China Border situation is still risky?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : border security

india china borderContext

  • According to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hotsprings (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way. With disengagement at PP 15 India China border, forces of the two countries have disengaged at all friction points in the region which included the North and South banks of the Pangong Tso, PP 14, PP 15 and PP 17A.

India china borderWhy the India-China Border situation is still risky?

The tentative conciliatory steps between two nuclear-armed rivals are important; but they also carry risks, especially for India. The risks are as follows:

  • Uneasy peace: Despite the latest round of disengagement, the LAC remains deeply unsettled. Observers have pointed out that the buffer zones produced by the crisis inhibit India’s ability to patrol its own territory.
  • Un-resolve areas: India and China have tacitly agreed to postpone settlement at two other confrontation sites, particularly tactically valuable area known as Depsangand Charding Nala regions.
  • Persisting threat: The reinforcements that each side deployed since 2020 have not returned to garrison. Even if future rounds of talks continue “disengagement and de-escalation,” and reduce those forces, returning to the status quo ante is now impossible.
  • Border infrastructure: Both sides on India China border are racing towards building permanent military infrastructure near the border, to help them surge forces to the border. Unsurprisingly, China seems to have outpaced India in building these roads, helipads, and communications nodes.
  • Possibility of conflict: The increasing capabilities and mobility on both sides of the border means that a crisis can more quickly escalate to a large military stand-off anywhere on the LAC, and possibly even trigger a conflict

india china borderWhat are the Strategic implications?

  • Changing priorities: India has reassigned one of three originally Pakistan-facing Strike Corps to the China front. It has deployed its newest artillery, jets, and drones to the China border.
  • Unattended Indian Ocean: India has not yet improved its capabilities or posture in the Indian Ocean region significantly.
  • Diversion from real threat: With the border crisis, China seems to have successfully fixed India’s gaze to the land border, at the expense of that more consequential competition over the Indian Ocean.
  • Loss of grazing: Ladakh’s elected representatives said the disengagement has caused loss of huge grazing land as it would now be converted into no man’s land.

india china borderSteps taken by India

  • Increasing capability: from cruise missile-equipped fighter jets and U.S.-origin naval helicopters to a brand-new indigenously-built aircraft carrier.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat: India undertook several structural economic reforms for strengthening domestic capability and reducing the economic parity between two nations. Defence ministry has decided to increase CAB (capital acquisition budget), around 64% of modernization fund around 70000 cr. has been allocated for purchasing from domestic market. Atma Nirbhar Bharat and Make in India mission will also include Defence sector, we can see the local or private companies can also participate in procurement of defence equipment
  • Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC): Started by the defence ministry and over 1200 MSMEs participated in the fourth edition of the DISC in 2020. The government has prepared a negative list, it include light combat helicopters, artillery guns; these items will not be imported by anyone thus encouraging self-reliant India.
  • The SRIJAN portal: Launched to facilitate the two initiatives, Atmanirbhar Bharat and make in India
  • Sagarmala project: The sagarmala project has been started to revamp port Infrastructure which is a welcome step in modernization.

Conclusion

  • For china Deception is diplomacy. Time and again China tries a deception strategy from its Confucius doctrine to defeat its enemy. From 1962 to 2022 India has made a lot of progress in military and economic sphere but China is way ahead than us. Strategic competition between two Asian giants will continue foreseeable future. So as long as India doesn’t gain domestic capabilities it would be prudent step to undertake strategic balancing.

Mains Question

Q. India has decided to maintain a strategic balance with china rather than being subsidiary to china. Discuss.

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