A strategic thought on improving Indian-Chinese relations

Wednesday, 09 Aug, 2017

India and China have been locked in a standoff in Doklam since June 16 after Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan tri-junction.

Informing that neither India nor China had taken any decision on reviewing its trade and diplomatic relationship, security sources said that China would be the biggest loser if India was forced to review its trade relationship with China.

New Delhi, however, pointed out that while the status of Sikkim as an integral part of India had been settled in 2003, the boundary in the sector remained unsettled and was a matter of negotiation between SRs.

M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat, said that contrary to the claims of the Indian media, there has been no Chinese "intrusion" onto India's sacred soil.

China has waged its psywar against India largely through disinformation campaigns and media manipulation, aimed at presenting India - a raucous democracy with poor public diplomacy - as the aggressor and China as the aggrieved party.

The Government of India is also of the view that the standoff would not escalate into a full scale war despite the Government of China issuing threats, mostly through the state controlled media.

The Chinese government urges the Indian government to immediately withdraw its trespassing border troops back to the Indian side of the boundary and conduct a thorough investigation into the illegal trespassing so as to swiftly and appropriately resolve the incident and restore peace and tranquility to the border area between the two countries.

While it is not hard to discern that by releasing such a document at this stage of events when a number of Indian troops have been withdrawn, China is trying to build global opinion in favor of its position by simply projecting India as an "intruder"-hence the "fact and position" paper". A standoff ensued after that and both, India and China, have sent their defence forces to protect their interest. Since the Day 1, China said that PLA would attack India but has only threatened a war, did nothing on the border. It fears the road would allow China to cut off India's access to its northeastern states. However, they should remember, India is much more than this. Likewise, America can not stand up to China without Indian help. In one of the last meetings between the two heads of state in Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference, the two sides agreed that Indian-Chinese relations could be a factor of stability and a beacon of hope for other large and small developing countries in Asia and beyond. With a capacity to invest three times more than that of India, China has shown signs of increased attention towards domestic activities in the country.

Already, the standoff is offering important lessons to other Asian countries seeking to cope with China's bullying. China has also employed "lawfare", selectively invoking a colonial-era accord, while ignoring its own violations - cited by Bhutan and India - of more recent bilateral agreements. Fear of China changed the situation.

Meanwhile, the imports of Chinese products to India saw a 251-percent increase to $61.29 billion in 2016-17 from $17.48 billion 10 years ago. After all, China won't be able to build the road in this winter and it has to wait until the spring to come.