Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[op-ed snap] Lessons from Doklamop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

Q.) “India and China need to conduct bilateral consultations on various issues – ranging from Afghan reconciliation to regional economic development.” Can it help both countries to solve their issues with each other?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: It is important to know post-Doklam strategy of both the countries.



  1. The article talks about the current issues between India and China, and the lessors that we learnt from the Doklam Standoff

What after the Doklam Standoff?

  1. Several significant questions remain unanswered about the terms and conditions of the resolution
  2. But it provides India and China an opportunity to reflect over what went wrong and rearrange this important bilateral relationship
  3. Also, we need to examine the political strategy guiding India’s military deployment at Doklam

Important lessons

(1) India is on its own 

  1. The most self-evident lesson from the Doklam stand-off is that we inhabit a ‘self-help’ world 
  2. It is important to note that none of the major powers unambiguously and unreservedly supported India’s position on Doklam

(2) China’s unnecessary concerns in South Asia

  1. The second lesson is that China is unlikely to respect India’s ‘special relationships’ with its neighbours
  2. India has long enjoyed a special status in the South Asian region and often treated it as its exclusive backyard
  3. With China expanding its influence in the region and it is competing for status and influence

Other issues between India and China

  1. It is also becoming abundantly clear is that the slowed down ‘Special Representatives’ talks on the India-China boundary question have not yielded much so far
  2. And it is perhaps the appropriate occasion to revamp the dialogue process
  3. The 19 rounds of talks held till last year have hardly anything substantive to show for them in terms of the resolution of the boundary dispute
  4. Indeed, the focus is increasingly shifting from conflict resolution to conflict management
  5. It is high time, therefore, that the two countries appointed dedicated high-ranking officials to discuss the boundary issues in a more sustained and result-oriented manner

The way forward

  1.  While Doklam may now be a thing of the past, Sino-Indian ties are never likely to be the same again
  2. There will be skirmishes, war of words and attempts to outmanoeuvre each other in the neighbourhood and beyond
  3. India needs to constantly look over its shoulders for potential Chinese surprises, there is also an urgent need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to deal with Beijing
  4. The two sides also need to conduct bilateral consultations on various issues, like regional economic development
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