Focus: GS-II International Relations

Introduction

The growing number of reports about Chinese troops crossing the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India in the Ladakh region — neither acknowledged nor denied by the Indian government as yet — indicate a new age of Chinese territorial aggression against India.

The growing territorial aggression

  • China’s growing territorial aggression on the LAC signals the end of Beijing’s peaceful rise and its traditional desire to maintain regional status quo with India.
  • While the timing could be explained by the global political distraction caused by COVID-19 and the international pressure on China (including by India) to come clean on the origins of the novel coronavirus, the proximate causes could be several.
  • For one, New Delhi’s terse statements about Aksai Chin following the Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation in August last year had not gone down well with Beijing.
  • New Delhi has been carrying out the construction of infrastructural projects along the LAC — a long overdue activity — which is something that seems to have made China uneasy.

The following developments must be viewed in the broader context of a long-term geopolitical world view China has for the region.

  1. China’s China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connectivity to Pakistan through the Karakoram and New Delhi’s criticism of it
  2. The reported presence of PLA troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  3. India’s new-found activism on Aksai Chin
  4. The PLA’s incursions into areas in eastern Ladakh

Doklam redux?

  • The 2017 standoff between India and China at the Doklam trijunction was the first major military standoff between the two sides in a long time in which New Delhi demonstrated it was not a military pushover despite China’s conventional superiority over India.
  • Since Doklam, however, there have been several reports that China has continued with its construction activities in and around Doklam.
  • The 2020 transgressions in Sikkim and Ladakh are perhaps Beijing’s way of responding to India consistently and militarily.

Way Forward: Limits of adventurism

  • There are several places along the several thousand-kilometre-long LAC where the PLA is militarily weak, the Indian Army has the upper hand.
  • While China enjoys continental superiority over India, maritime domain is China’s weak spot, in particular Beijing’s commercial and energy interest to which the maritime space is crucial.
  • There is little doubt that China is our neighbour and that we have to live next to the larger and more powerful China. However, India should not accept Beijing’s attempts at land grabs, or military intimidation. That China is a rising superpower located next door to us is a reality, but how we deal with that reality is a choice we must make as a nation.

Click Here to read more about the India China Border Standoff

-Source: The Hindu

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