For weeks, the India-China relations dominated newspaper headlines and social media. The context is known to many. Once again the Chinese troops crossed the non-demarcated LAC at a few points in Ladakh and Sikkim sectors, creating high tensions in the region and also lead to the most extreme violent clash between two forces in the last 50 years.
What are the possible reasons behind China’s assertion against India?
We need to undertake a detailed analysis of recent events to find proper answers to many vexed questions. To merely believe that India’s decision to strengthen its border infrastructure especially Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat-Beg-Oldi road was the main trigger for the recent show of China’s strength, would be simplistic. Both nations have been strengthening their infrastructure in recent years. Therefore to believe that while strengthening DSDBO road may have angered the Chinese will be a misconception.
The possible reasons for this assertion as what many foreign policy experts believe are:
1. India since its independence opted for Non-aligned movement or could be said decided to remain neutral. But now it is increasingly perceived as having shifted towards the American Orbit of influence. There are many instances where India tends to side with the US and against China whenever there is a conflict of interest between the two. Fewer examples are:
- The QUAD group in Indo-pacific- a powerful group of 4 nations that includes India, USA, Japan and Australia in Indo-Pacific region whose primary aim is to contain China as what many foreign policy experts believe.
- Belt Road Initiative – India is the only large country in Asia that has refused to join China’s ambitious project. Also, India always stood against the China-Pakistan economic partnership(CPEC), a branch of the BRI project.
- The idea of G-11: US President Trump’s latest ploy of redesigning the G-7, including in it countries such as India, but excluding China, provides China with another basis for considering India as US ally.
- More recently, India was the earliest countries to put curbs and restrictions on Foreign direct investment from China.
2. China, particularly, believes that India should not be involved in the on-going geopolitical and economic rivalry between China-US to become a superpower. As China knew if India enters into power tussle, the balance of power shifts towards the USA.
Thus, China by pursuing the policy of ‘Whose Stick, His Buffalo’ is trying to formulate pressure on India so that we remain neutral in the whole game.
China’s Internal Dynamics
Many experts believe that Golden era of China’s economy is coming to a verge. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, many companies are shifting their bases from China to outside inducing unemployment and distress among the masses. This has generated public opinion against Mr Xi. In order to mobilize the mass opinion, Xi is trying to invoke nationalism and probably trying to repeat history.
This can be better understood with an instance from history. Chinese President Mao in 1960s came up with the”Great Leap Forward” policy to boost agricultural production and industrialization, but it failed to do so.
In addition to this, increasing isolation globally even with the Soviet Union created an instance where Mao chose to strike at India rather than confront Russia or the west.
Way Ahead for India-
Today is also the same situation, a single misstep could lead to a wider blaze. This is not the time for India to be seen as the front end of a coalition of forces striving to put China in its place. In the long term, we should learn from our past experiences and should start focusing on upgrading our military, strategic road connectivity and defence infrastructure because “History is never lenient towards mistakes”.
UPSC Aspirant and MA from Delhi University
Sumit is an UPSC aspirant and defence enthusiastic who keeps an eye on recent Geopolitical Developments. He is Fitness Freak and great all-rounder in the game of the Cricket