India and china are the two giants of Asia of the oldest and living civilization of the world. Sindhu and Ganges gave birth to Indian Civilisation, which influenced south and southeast asia . similarly, Huangghe (yellow river) and Changjiang (Yangtze river, the longest river of Asia; flows eastward from Tibet into the East China Sea near Shanghai) gave birth to the Chinese civilization, which on its part influenced northeast and southeast Asia. Being neighbours India and China had established trade and cultural relations since time immemorial.
The first records of contact between China and India were written during the 2nd century BCE. Buddhism was transmitted from India to China in the 1st century CE. Trade relations via the Silk Road acted as economic contact between the two regions. China and India have also had some contact before the Transmission of Buddhism. References to a people called the
Chinas are found in ancient Indian literature. The Indian epic Mahabharata (c. 5th century BCE) contains references to “China”, which may have been referring to the Qin state which later became the Qin Dynasty. Chanakya (c. 350-283 BCE), the prime minister of the Maurya Empire refers to Chinese silk as “cinamsuka” (Chinese silk dress) and “cinapatta” (Chinese silk bundle) in his Arthashastra. In the Records of the Grand Historian Zhang Qian (d.113BCE) and
SimaQian (145-90BCE) make references to “Shendu”, which may have been referring to the
IndusValley (the Sindh province in modern Pakistan), originally known as “Sindhu” in
Sanskrit. When Yunnan was annexed by the Han Dynasty in the 1st century, Chinese
authorities reported an Indian “Shendu” community living there.
The great Chinese historian, in his masterpiece Shiji Xinanyizhun (Records of the Historian: Foreigners in southwest). It has been narrated that people in the Shu (another name of Sichuan province) were wearing clothes that were brought from Shendu (Sindhu from India). Therefore it could be established from the above fact that India and China were already having trade relations in Second Century BC.
Not only this but from the 1st century onwards, many Indian scholars and monks travelled to China, many Chinese scholars and monks also travelled to India and were the students at Nalanda University in Bihar. Xuanzang, a Chinese scholar wrote the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions an account of his journey to India, which later inspired others. According to some, St. Thomas the Apostle travelled from India to China and back (see Perumalil, A.C. The Apostle in India. Patna, 1971: 5-54.)
During the reign of Chola Empire in India. Cholas maintained good relationship with the
Chinese . Arrays of ancient Chinese coins have been found in the Cholas homeland (i.e.in the districts of Tamil Nadu, India). At that time the Cholas had strong trading links with Chinese. The Chola Navy conquered the Sri Vijaya Empire of Indonesia and Malaysia and secured a sea trading route to China.
During 7th century, the Chinese dynasty gained control over large portions of the Silk Road and Central Asia. Wang Xuance had sent a diplomatic mission to northern India, which was embroiled by civil war following the death of Emperor Harsha.
At the time of Yuan dynasty, a rich merchant from the Mabar Sultanate who was closely associated with the Mabar royal family moved to China and received a Korean women as his wife and a job from then emperor. Tamil Hindu Indian merchants traded in Quanzho, a trading location in China during that time period. Hindu statues were found in the same location dating to this period.
Further, in between 1405 and 1433, during the reign of Ming dynasty China sponsored a series of seven naval expeditions led by Admiral Zheng. He visited numerous Indian kingdoms and ports. Zheng and his company paid respect to local deities and customs mainly honoured Buddha, Allah and Vishnu by erecting monuments.
During the British colonization, China had limited trade relations with India. In early 20th century, a great resurgence in Asia deeply influenced India and China who looked at each other with sympathy, admiration and sought mutual inspiration. In 1941, when the Japanese invade China, Indian national congress dispatched a medical mission to China by Dr Kotnis. He died in action and remembered in both countries as a symbol of solidarity.
Relationship 1947 onwards
India attained independence on 15 August 1947 after a long and nonviolent nationalist movement. China attained independence on October 1949 in the culmination of Chinese Civil War (1945-1949). There was a brief period of cooperation from 1949—1957 where diplomatic relations were formally established (1 April 1950) and high-level visits were exchanged. (Athwak, 2008: 20). Nehru greeted the birth of communist China in October with great pomp. In a rare gesture, India displayed excessive zeal in prompting its membership in United Nations. Nehru did not share the American perception that communism was a threat to world peace and stability. On the contrary, he believed that Western hatred of communism might boomerang, since nationalism in China was stronger than communism. For the present the Indian Prime Minister was convinced that Chinese nationalism played a far better important part than communism and that Chinese civilization was too old to succumb completely to Marxist dogma. The early phase of Sino-Indian relations was marked by a close warm friendship.
The Tibet issue thereafter lil bit disturbed the cordial neighbourly relations; India acknowledged China’s suzerainty over Tibet subject to Tibet’s autonomy. The Chinese army invaded Tibet on 1950. India stressed on peaceful negotiation of Tibet problem; China dismissed Indian interference claiming Tibet as its internal affair.
Although despite China‘s military takeover of Tibet in 1950. the Indian government did not register a serious protest with Beijing, opposition leaders in parliament criticized Nehru‘s policy on the Tibetan issue but he remained unmoved. He preferred to deal with monolithic China diplomatically by keeping it in check, and isolating it from USSR rather than coming into open confrontation with it. This strategy paid off. India was able to maintain peace and tranquility on its northeastern borders for over a decade. (JAIN, 2004: 254). In 1954, India and China signed an agreement on trade and intercourse between the Tibet regions of China and had an exchange of notes. India thus signed away all its inherited privileges in Tibet by virtue of earlier pacts. The five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Panchsheel); with slogan ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’ and the Bandung Conference were highlights of Sino-Indian cooperation. In 1954, new Indian maps included the Aksai Chin region within its boundaries. However, the cooperation was not to last. By late 1950s, serious differences between the two states had begun to surface, particularly over the undemarcated border. The unresolved border issue would lead to war by 1962. (Athwak, 2008: 20).
The root cause behind was when Britishers left India in 1947, some areas still remained undefined and this later became a problem between India and China. The Sino-Indian border is generally divided into the eastern, middle and western sector .On the western sector is the Aksai Chin plateau held by China, which, on its three sides, faces Ladakh (in Indian-administered Kashmir), Tibet, and Xinjiang. Northwest of the western sector is an area of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963, which India refuses to recognise. On the eastern sector the dispute is over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, an area south of the McMahon Line. The middle sector involves a dispute. In 1959, PRC Premier informed Nehru that China never accepted the McMahon Line defining the eastern border between India and China and finally reject the Nehru’s contention that the border was based on treaty and custom. In the same year, the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of the Tibetian people, required asylum in India. Along with him thousands of Tibetian refugees then settled in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.
China then wanted Aksai Chin back in exchange of its claim on India’ north east. On rejection by India on such claim, relations got totally deteriorated. The PRC pushed the unprepared and inadequately led Indian forces to within 48 kms of the Assam plains in the Northeast and occupied strategic points in Ladakh. India‘s crushing defeat at the hands of the Chinese shattered Nehru‘s image at home and abroad. (Eekelen, 1967: 160)
In IR literature, realists emphasize security dilemma as a source of conflicts, which means, in anarchy, actions taken for one’s own security can threaten the security of others, leading to arms races and conflicts, and argue that uncertainty is the fundamental cause of security dilemma which was proposed by Indian Foreign Secretary Henry McMahon secretly in the Shimla Conference between British, Tibet over various points on the border between Indian states i.e. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and China’s Tibet. The border dispute focuses mainly on the western sector and eastern sector. (Source: The Economist, Feb 8th, 2012).
Between 1962 and 1969, Sino-Indian relations remained in a deep freeze. Emboldened by its easy victory over India, China initiated a vitriolic and vituperative propaganda against India, which deepened India‘s suspicion of China even further. India‘s mistrust about China was further confirmed when China befriended Pakistan and started to extend military and political support to it. China on the contrary essentially saw Indo-Soviet friendship as an anti-China ploy. After facing humiliating defeat, when India started to put high concentration on its armed forces, China accused India with the tag of militarism.
From the mid-1966 onwards, the internal conditions of both India and China were in a state of continuous flux. At that time China was in the midst of socio-economic upheaval and acute leadership struggle during the Cultural Revolution. India was under the leadership of Mrs Gandhi. Chinese foreign policy remained dormant during the phase of Cultural Revolution but this did not stop the Chinese from extending its support to the so-called national liberation movement in the third world by exhorting them to replace the legitimate regimes. Accordingly, China started exploiting two basic weaknesses in the government of India. One was the inability to integrate the tribal peoples of the northeast into the mainstream of Indian life. Another was the failure to ameliorate the condition of the rural peasantry and landless laborers in the lower Ganges Valley. China is good enough to convert weakness of other into an opportunity and by trying this policy, China openly supported NAGA and MIZO insurgents and pushed them to rise in revolution against India. The Naxalbari uprising in West Bengal provided a golden opportunity to the Chinese to recommend the Maoist path for the Indian revolutionaries. India-China relations further deteriorated in June 1967. Chinese troops attacked Indian troops on the Sikkim border across the Nathual and opened heavy mortar and artillery fire. After repeated Indian protest and proposal for ceasefire, by September there was a virtual cessation of all hostile activities. The Chinese again fired heavily on the Indian positions at Chola, on 1 October and both sides suffered casualties. Thus the condition between the two countries continued to deteriorates. Mrs. Gandhi, kept striving to normalize relations with Beijing, by the end of 1967. Moreover, In an address to parliament on 20 February 1970, the President reiterated his government‘s desire to conduct its relations with China on the ―principle of mutual respect of each other‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference.
Unfortunately, During the 1970s Pakistan‘s problem between East and West Pakistan, China not only supported the military junta and its role in East Pakistan but also tried discreetly to moderate Yahya Khan‘s brutal policy towards East Pakistan but without success. In spite of virulent anti-Indian propaganda by Chinese; India played cool and maintained a low profile. India again took the initiative to start dialogue with China, when its ambassador in Moscow met twice with his Chinese counterpart in May 1971, to discuss the terms of restoration of diplomatic representation to the Ambassadorial level. (Mishra, 2004: 36-42). In 1977 Prime Minister Desai also continued with the legacy of normalizing relations with China. He sent his foreign minister, A.B Vajpayee, to China in 1979 to carry forward the process of rapprochement.
The exchange of ambassadors suggested that relations had emerged out of the deep freeze and entered a period of Détente. It was not until 1981, however, that India and China began to negotiate their border. The first period of border negotiation was taken the form of eight rounds of border talks at the vice ministerial level from 1981-1987. From 1986-1987, a face-off between Indian and Chinese troops occurred at Sumdorung Chu valley, which brought India and China again to the brink of war. The face-off was at the end de-escalated by mutual diplomatic efforts.
Relation under Leadership Of Rajeev Gandhi
The visit of Rajeev Gandhi to China in 1988 was judged a success by both sides. Gandhi‘s visit helped balance the score in terms of summit visits. Gandhi there indicated a willingness to increase consultation and cooperation with China on a range of international issues, such as the creation of a New International Economic Order, disarmament, and pollution. New Delhi‘s willingness to cooperate with China on such global issues may perhaps call macro diplomatic cooperation and represented acceptance of Chinese proposal that had been on the table since the early 1980s. The idea behind macro diplomatic cooperation is that China and India share many important characteristics and common interests. Moreover, by cooperating on these issues, the two countries will create an important atmosphere conducive to better bilateral relations. (Garver, 1996: 323-325). Gandhi had visited there with a vision to renew old friendship because it was the first visit by an Indian Prime minister to China since Jawahar Lal Nehru’s 1954 visit.
During the visit the two sides had in-depth discussions on the Sino-Indian border questions and agreed to settle it through peaceful and friendly consultations. In December, India and China decided to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on the boundary issue headed by Foreign Secretary on the Indian side and a Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Chinese side. . The JWG had two important functions. First, the JWG was to make concrete recommendations for the overall solution of the boundary question. Secondly, the group would ensure the peace and tranquility was maintained in the Line of Actual Control. The two sides also agreed to develop relations in other fields and set up a joint group on economic relations and trade, as well as science and technology. The two countries signed three accords on cultural scientific and technological cooperation as well as civil aviation. (Mishra, 2004: 66-67). After that the Chinese Premier Li Peng paid a return visit to India in 1991. JWG then issued that the boundary question should not affect the development of bilateral relations. Between 1988 and 1993, six rounds of JWC meetings on the border were held. Progress was made in reducing border tension through Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), including mutual troop reductions, regular meetings of local military commanders and advance notification of military exercises. Border trade resumed in July 1992, after an interval of more than 30 years, and consulates reopened in Bombay and Sahnghai in December 1992. In 1993, the two sides agreed to open an additional border trading post.
Moreover Prime Minister Narsima Rao‘s visit to China in September 1993 to see the conclusion of the Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility in Border Areas along the LAC. In 1994 the two countries signed agreement on avoiding double taxation, and an agreement for cooperation on health and medical science, also signed the memorandum to simplify the procedure for visa application, and banking cooperation. Both sides reaffirmed in the agreement that neither side shall use force against the other by any means or seek unilateral military support for them‘. The visit saw the leaders of the two countries agree to establish Constrictive and Cooperative Partnership between China and India into 21st Century, on basis of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence‘. Four other accords reached during the visit were those relating to maritime transport, cooperation in combating narcotic drug trafficking, improving communication across the border, and maintenance of the Consulate-General of India in Hongkong special Administrative Region (Singh R., 2001).
Relations after India’s Nuclear Bomb 1998
In 1998, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government came into power in India. India during that period conducted five nuclear tests and officially declared herself a new ―nuclear weapon state. The atmosphere became tenser after the nuclear test. The Chinese saw the test as ―causing serious damage to the bilateral relations. The sunshine period in Sino-Indian relations then once again disappeared behind dark clouds. The PRC took stronger objection and asked for an Indian explanation for considering China as a threat. China cancelled its decision to participate in the pre-scheduled 1988 meeting of the joint working group alternately held in each country to discuss confidence-building measures. This act on India‘s part, resulting in unnecessary tension with China. (Hu, 1999: 40).
The nuclear issue featured as an irritant in India-China relations for some time, which really put the bilateral relationship in a limbo. However, both countries were able to resume talks once again after a span of nine months. This was made possible by the visits to China made by the Minister of External Affairs Jaswant Singh in 1999, (Kumar, 2010). Both the sides reached a consensus that the prerequisite for restoring and developing Sino-Indian relations, and it was assured that neither side will regard the other as a threat. In May 2000, Indian President K.R Narayan visited China when his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, put forward a four-point proposal concerning the development of bilateral relations in the 21st century. The two sides enhance the level of bilateral personnel visits to increase mutual understanding and trust; expand trade and economic cooperation; strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs; and properly handle issues left over from the past in the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences (Rajan, 2007: 152).
Vajpayee’s Visit to China in 2003
The visit in June 2003 has further contributed to enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields. During this visit nine agreements were signed with China. Among these, the most important related to border trade through Sikkim, simplifying visa procedure to promote trade between the two countries, to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on legal matters, to opening the Centre for Indian Studies in Beijing University, to cultural exchange programmes, and to a MoU for cooperation in the field of ocean science and technology. Indian PM and his Chinese counterpart made references to alignment of the LAC and reaffirmed their commitments to the idea of multipolarity, and agreed on the need to channel ―globalization in the right direction‖ (The Hindu,2003)..
The term equality‘was applied to India— China relations for the first time. Both the countries emphasized that the common interest of India and China outweighed their differences and the two countries were not a threat to each other. (Gang 2003). The Indian side recognized that the Tibet Autonomous Region is part of the territory of the PRC in contrast to the mention that Tibet is an Autonomous Region of China. In over all sense, the visit was seen by analysts as a clear demonstration of the political will on both sides to seek solutions to the contentious issues.
In 2005, Chinese Premier visited India. He held talks with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President A.P.J Abdul Kalam and other dignitaries also. The joint Statement was issued on the occasion. In the joint Statement, the two countries agreed to establish a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity‘. Eleven other agreements were signed. A major outcome of the visit was the Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the settlement of India-China Boundary Question‘. The Chinese Premier clarified that China regarded Sikkim as an inalienable part of India‘, and that Sikkim was no longer an issue in India-China relations. Premier Jiabao also handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the revised Chinese map showing Sikkim within the international boundaries of India. Both countries also agreed to establish an Indian-Chinese Joint Economic Group and a Task Force to examine the feasibility and benefits of Trading Arrangements. China stated that it attached great importance to the status of India in international affairs and understood and supported India‘s desire to play an active role in the UN and the world. (Rasgotra, 2007: 174).
Further in December 2006 Chinese President paid visit to India which marked a landmark in Sino-Indian relations and send a positive signal that China was committed to carrying forward the process of Sino-India relations. President’s visit was to reiterate Chinese‘s view that a dynamic India-China friendship would lead to peace, stability and prosperity not only in Asia but the whole world as whole‘. A key objective for China was to step up economic cooperation with India to build on the momentum of bilateral trade between the two countries, which has grown steadily over the years. Through these visits India wanted an early settlement of the border problems on the basis of the Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles signed between the two countries in April 2005. In nutshell the outcome of these visits resulted in the joint declaration in New Delhi on 21st November 2006 which reflected the shared vision and mutual objectives of the two countries in a number of important areas like: economic cooperation, international economic order and regional cooperation, civil nuclear cooperation, boundary questions and cultural exchanges (Jetly, 2006). Side by side in 2006, China and India had a verbal spat over claim of the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Further in 2007, China denied the application for visa from an Indian Administrative Service officer in Arunachal Pradesh as China considers AP as its own territory(CNN-IBN,2007-05-25.Retrieved 2007-08-31) Later in 2007, China reversed its policy by granting visa to an Arunachal born person.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Visit to China— 2008
In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited China; this visit was the first by a foreign dignitary to the country in 2008. During the visit India signed ―Shared Vision on the 21st Century and reached a broad consensus on the further pushing forward the Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries in civil nuclear energy and observed that such cooperation was necessary to combat climate change and develop energy security, and the two countries agreed to jointly promote in building harmonious world featured by everlasting peace and common prosperity. India‘s Foreign Minister exchanged visits on economic and trade cooperation between the two countries maintained fast growth.
In 2008, bilateral trade exceeded $ 51 billion, with an increase of 34 per cent over 2007. Security and defense exchanges became a highlight in Indian bilateral relations. The Chinese Navy Marshal visited India for the first time and the two countries held the second round of consultation on defense and security. In December 2008, China and India successfully conducted the ―Join Hands-2008, (a joint army training exercise on combating terrorism, in India) Bilateral cooperation in international and regional affairs was further strengthened. China and India maintained close coordination on issues such as climate change, the Doha Round talks, energy and food security, and the international financial crisis. They worked together for positive results at the Financial Summit of the G20 held in Washington in November 2008. China-India relations are generally on a steady development path (Yan, 2009) .
In October 2009, Asian Development Bank formally acknowledging Arunachal Pradesh as part of India, approved a loan to India for a development project there and reversed the policy of China which pressurized bank to cease loan.
In 2010, Chinese Premier paid an official visit to India after gets invited by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was accompanied by 400 Chinese business leaders who wished to sign business deals with Indian companies.
In 2011, during BRICS summit, India and China agreed to restore defence co-operation and China had shared its thoughts that it may reverse its policy of administering stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir. This practice was later stopped and then defence ties were resumed between the two countries. Then in 2012 BRICS summit in NewDelhi, Chinese president came in conversation with Indian Prime minister and shares its notion that the China wants to develop Sino-Indian friendship, wants to deepen strategic cooperation and seek common development . It has hopes to see peaceful, prosperous and continually developing India and commits to build more dynamic China-India relationship.
In May 2013, on the days before a trip by then Indian Foreign Minister (Salman Khurshid) to China a three week standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in close proximity to each other and the Line Of Actual Control between Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region and Aksai Chin was defused. Khurshid stated that both countries had a shared interest in not exacerbate or destroy long term progress in relations. There Chinese agreed to withdraw their troops in exchange for an Indian steps to demolish several live in bunkers 250km to the south in the disputed Chumar sector. Further Chinese Premier made his visit to India to increase diplomatic co-operation, to establish trade relations and formulate border dispute solutions.
In late 2013, then Indian President Pranab Mukherjee visit to Arunachal Pradesh, a northeast Indian state which was recognized by China as South Tibet. In his speech, Mukherjee called the area an integral and important part of India which generated an angry response from Beijing and responded that the China’s stand on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear.
In 2014, the relationship between two countries again took a sting as troops of People’s Liberation have reportedly entered 2kms inside the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Chumar sector. It was also viewed at that time that China and India had come to a convergence of views on the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The disruptions have much more risen due to China building trade routes with Pakistan on disputed Kashmir territory.
2017 Doklam standoff
On 6th june 2017 indian army stopped construction of a road by People’s Liberation Army in the doklam sector which is disputed between china and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan’s claim over this area. China accuses india of trespassing on its territory for Indian soldiers crossing a settled border between China and India; when entering the disputed area. This has led to an ongoing standoff between the two armies, which have lasted longer than any other standoff between the two parties since 1962. As of 19th July 2017, the dispute has showed no sign of abatement, with the official Chinese government media threatening to teach India a bitter lesson, and warning the Indians to leave the area with dignity or be kicked out, and the Chinese moving more armaments into Tibet and the US expressing concern.
On this standoff ,the fact that should be taken into consideration that in 2012, India and China agreed that the tri-junction boundaries with Bhutan and Myanmar (also called Burma) would be finally decided in consultation with these countries. Until then, the status quo would prevail. India believes China violated the status quo by building the road. Indian troops were sent to resist their Chinese counterparts in the area only when Bhutan, which has close ties with India, requested India to help. Jagannath Panda noted that Bhutan is central to India’s security interests in the Himalayan sub-region. Bhutan has a border dispute with China, but what could not be overlooked was the Bhutan-India-China “tripartite” strategic triangle in the Eastern Himalayan region.
China insists Indian troops invaded Doklam/Donglang to help Bhutan, and it was a violation of international law. “.Some analysts say India possibly made a mistake by openly conflating the building of the road with talk of potential “serious security implications for India”. An analyst told that no doubt that there were security concerns, but it was wron for India to voice them strongly. We could have just said that China had breached the status quo. By overplaying the security angle, we may have scored an own goal, and the Chinese are exploiting it,”
Importance of dokalam area for india
General Shekatkar spoke to Rediff.com’s agent and provides that Dokalam area in Bhutan is legally important for India because in mountain warfare, even a 10 feet high ground is of importance. Over the years, the Chinese came during grazing season, stayed for few days with yaks and went away. But for the last two years, the Chinese came in strength and started building roads on the Doklam plateau. It is strategically located near the Siliguri corridor. It is such a narrow patch that anyone who controls it also controls the entry and exit from the North East and such control can cut off the entire North East. Moreover there are 2 or 3 hydel projects coming up in this area where India has invested heavily i.e Jaldhaka on Indian side the Indian –Bhutan border)
Reasons for current india-china stand-off
The facts on the part of India arises that Bhutan is a small country. It is sovereign country in our friendly neighbourhood. So, it becomes India’s responsibility to protect its neighbour, especially if its military is not strong. India doesn’t have any defence treaty with Bhutan, but we have an understanding from the time of present king’s grandfather. According to that agreement, there is a small training detachment of the Indian army to train the Bhutanese forces. Indian army has been in the place of Ha in Chumbi valley for decades, which is a training establishment. The Doklam Plateau is at close proximity to this. When Indian army deployed on operational parameters for traning Bhutanese, the Chinese troops entered the area and told the Indian army to go back. This is how Indian army got involved in the current issue in relation to Doklam area.Now the point is that the China has no legal right to tell Indian army to withdraw the area because that is a Bhutanese territory. Moreover, China wrongly claimed that the Indian army has ingressed into the area.
In the Indian Ocean too New Delhi is lining up more visibly against China, with its navy cooperating and training regularly with the American and Japanese navies in exercises like the recently concluded Exercise Malabar.
While deteriorating Sino-Indian relations are a reality, there is insufficient recognition of the fact that border incidents are increasingly triggered by India’s increasing military strength and an increasingly assertive posture on the border.
Over the last decade, India has strengthened its defences in Arunachal Pradesh by adding two divisions (35,000 to 40,000 troops), and is raising a mountain strike corps (60,000 troops) that can operate in Ladakh, Sikkim or Arunachal Pradesh.
Besides these, India has moved more than two brigades (7,000 to 10,000 troops) from Kashmir to Ladakh and strengthened defences further with the induction of tank and armoured infantry units.
The little-known upshot is that India’s military posture has become significantly stronger than China’s on the 3,500-kilometre Line of Actual Control.
This is enhancing confrontation between the two sides.
For decades, India maintained an insignificant military presence in Daulet Beg Oldi, in Ladakh, ceding the run of the place to China.
But when India’s thickening troop presence blocked Chinese patrols into the area, a prolonged confrontation ensued in 2013.
One general involved in that standoff says: “The Chinese demanded to know why we were blocking them now, when they had been patrolling that area for years.”
A similar confrontation took place in Chumar, in Ladakh, in 2014.
Now, in Doklam, Chinese anger stems from being blocked in 2017, after facing no resistance between 2003 and 2007, when they tested the waters by building the existing track.
Furthermore, a more active media in both countries is bringing confrontations to public attention, forcing both governments into harder-line stances and depicting as surrender the give-and-take that must necessarily accompany the resolution of each incident.(rediff.com 26/07/17)
Future chances of this stand off
At the end of the study of the relationship between India and China, one can frame a notion that no doubt there was tensions in the border but there is hardly any chance of actual war between two. China will think twice to move forward in this direction because China isn’t an indomitable economic force of the world anymore. There are troubles brewing with the economy. China’s position as the world’s manufacturing hub and a major exporter to the world is inseparably linked to maintaining its image internationally. China knows that going on a full-fledged war with India over a small piece of land doesn’t offer any long term tactical or economic advantage to China. These are the reasons enough for China not to escalate tensions with India.
No doubt India economy has its share of economic problems- a weak banking sector, complex land and labour laws and still shaping modern tax structure yet India has grown over years, has repaired its domestic fundamentals and possesses capabilities in the area of exports, manufacturing like any major country in the world, has a younger demography and prepare itself for future growth path. There are specific reasons that compelled China to think twice to come in agreement with military for war with India.
One, it will face major setbacks on the trade front if it choose war with India. Second, India’s growing dominance in the world economy and its strengthening diplomatic relations with world powers makes it a bad idea for China to confront India attracting international attention. Third, china is in the midst of expanding its economic reach in South Asia through its much hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is critical to its one belt one road (OBOR) initiative. Chinese companies had already done good investment in this project on which India has already expressed its displeasure to China since it crosses through the contentious part of Kashmir, which is occupied by Pakistan and claimed by India. China will further fate the CPEC and OBOR in the event of war with India.
Indian government too never want any kind of disturbances because it is going to face election in May 2019 and it is needless to say, India too will have a destructive effect on the economy, which has already been disturbed by reforms and policies such as demonetization in any case if comes in war with China whether short or long. To sum up, India and China have only one option; to prepare for an indefinite standoff to satisfy their own constituencies.
Now all eyes are set on Doval’s visit to china, as he holds intensive interactions with his Chinese interlocutors in Beijing. Needless to say, the main highlight of his trip won’t be the multilateral purpose for which he is visiting China: to participate in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) NSAs’ meeting this week.
Doval’s negotiations with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi – both are also special representatives on the India-China boundary dispute – on the ongoing Doklam standoff will be his prime mission.
And perhaps the most delicate mission as National Security Advisor.