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

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

“Partnership with Japan could be the cornerstone of a coalition to take on China’s economic, military might”.Comment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BRICS, CPEC, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Mains level: India-China-Bhutan relations


Lessons from the stand-off between India and China

  1. It was the first time that India deployed troops on the Chinese border after a third party asked for help.
  2. Stand-offs have multiplied, suggesting that mechanisms of border dispute resolution were not as effective as they used to be, or not even relevant in such a case.
  3.  India can claim that it has forced China to withdraw by showing determination-cum-restraint, a mix that has impressed other South Asian countries which are under Chinese pressure and may turn to India for preserving their sovereignty


Economic development with Bhutan

  1. Bhutanese appreciate India’s soft power in cultural and societal terms, but the cooperation in the domain of hydropower that represents 25-30 per cent of Bhutan’s GDP is far from satisfactory.
  2. India will have to deliver more effectively on that front to retain Bhutanese trust.


  1. Observers emphasised that Bhutan should not alienate China and take the risk of breaking the dialogue between the two countries.
  2. Both countries have no diplomatic relations but they have talked since 1984 and have even signed the Agreement on the Maintenance of Border and Tranquillity in 1998

Withdrawal of troops from Chinese side

  1. because China was hosting the BRICS summit in early September and feared an Indian boycott
  2.  It will affect the  international image of Xi Jinping very badly

India’s concerns

  1. Chinese authorities announced that the PLA will continue to patrol in the area.
  2. Xi’s ability to control the expansionist agenda of the PLA after his re-election will have to be scrutinised
  3. China may continue to veto a move targeting the Jaish leader, Masood Azhar, in the UN.
  4. In any case, China will not let down Pakistan while the CPEC is gaining momentum as one of the major components of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  5. The first major problem India may face in its attempt to resist China is economic: China is not only the first trade partner of India but a large investor too.
  6. New Delhi cannot mobilise as many resources as Beijing to make inroads in third countries. Sri Lanka is a case in point
  7. China could acquire 70 per cent of the Hambantota deep sea port  in addition to many other strategic locations, including Gwadar, because of a financial strike force India cannot compete with.

Way forward

  1. Besides the US, India can turn more towards Japan. Narendra Modi launched the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, a project New Delhi and Tokyo have conceived together.
  2. Shinzo Abe, while inaugurating the line of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train on September 14, will probably reassert Japan’s will to build an ambitious strategic partnership with India.
  3. This partnership could be the cornerstone of a larger coalition that may include other countries eager to resist China’s “string of pearls” in the Asia-Pacific region.




Foreign Policy Watch: India-China
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