Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

The Chinese challenge

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- China challenge

Context

Nearly 20 months after the border crisis began in Ladakh, China has pressed on with aggressive diplomatic and military gestures against India.

Recent anti- India moves by China

  • Beijing recently renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh, following the six it had done in 2017.
  • China justifies the renaming as being done on the basis of its historical, cultural and administrative jurisdiction over the area — these old names existed since ancient times which had been changed by India with its “illegal occupation”.
  • On January 1, 2022, Beijing’s new land border law came into force, which provides the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with full responsibility to take steps against “invasion, encroachment, infiltration, provocation” and safeguard Chinese territory.

India’s response

  • Delhi has run out of proactive options against Beijing that will force the Chinese leadership to change course on its India policy.
  • The two countries have an increasingly lopsided trade relationship driven by Indian dependency on Chinese manufacturing, a situation further worsened by the Government’s mishandling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • To restore the status quo ante on the LAC as of April 2020, India undertook internal balancing of its military from the Pakistan border to the China border and external rebalancing through a closer partnership with the United States in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Because of the China factor, the U.S. is currently looking away even as India mistreats its minorities and its democracy stands diminished.
  •  India’s difficult diplomatic and military engagement with China is going to leave it more dependent on U.S. support, rendering India more vulnerable to American pressure on ‘shared values’.
  • With a rising China as its neighbour and a more self-centred U.S. – which is uncomfortable with India’s reliable partner, Russia — as its friend, Delhi continues to face difficult choices.

Conclusion

Put under the harsh glare, India has been found wanting in its ability to deal with future challenges. The immediate challenge, however, remains China. It cannot be wished away and must be tackled.

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