[op-ed snap] Seize the Doklam crisis

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

Q.1) “India must use the current border  crisis between India and China, to announce a set of long-term measures to improve military readiness vis-a-vis China.” Is it the right time to  do so?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Naresh Chandra Committee

Mains level: Important and rational analysis of the current crisis between India and China


News

Context

  1. The article talks about some ways, by which, India can gain maximum from the Doklam Crisis between India and China

Some known issues with China

  1. India has accumulated asymmetry in power with China that will improve slowly as India’s growth rate overtakes a declining Chinese growth rate
  2. Chinese elites are not sympathetic to India, and their ambition will continue to increase as Chinese power increases
  3. There is a large list of potential Chinese actions that India will find problematic, and so a strategic Indian response is warranted instead of tactical responses to each new development
  4. Finally, redressing the balance in military power and preparedness is both possible and highly desirable, for India

What can we get from this issue?

  1. According to the writer, the more chances of any Chinese action in the border area, the more likely it is that China will refrain from risky behaviour
  2. With this, India will succeed in getting an effective restoration of the status quo ante(the previously existing state of affairs) in the area
  3. But even if this proves not entirely feasible, India can still come out of the crisis having improved its bargaining position for future crises

How can India use this situation of crisis, strategically?

  1. We can use the crisis to announce a set of long-term measures to improve Indian military readiness against China
  2. Such announcements would have multiple advantages
    First
    , China would signal immediate resolve without risking tactical danger
    Second, India would make clear to China and other Asian nations and the United States that irrespective of the resolution of the crisis, India is committed to do what it takes to retain its strategic autonomy
    Third, it would allow the Indian government to use the crisis to initiate a set of reforms that have proven difficult to execute in “peace time

Suggestions from the Naresh Chandra Committee

  1. The Committee has proposed measures to improve the capacity of India’s armed forces to work together
  2. How: By a dedicated and effective Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
  3. It would also create an effective joint command of the critical installations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  4. It also suggested professionalising the personnel of the defence ministry

The Way Forward

  1. The Indian government should also continue with its careful programme to pursue mutual interests in the Indian Ocean region, with friendly countries such as the United States 
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China
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