In this article, we will be discussing India’s China Strategy. So let us begin with a little backstory.
- China renamed 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, calling them “South Tibet” after approval from the State Council.
- This is the third time China has renamed places in the disputed territory.
- There has been no serious attempt by Beijing to resolve the stand-off at Galwan since June 2020.
- China has provoked India on several occasions since then.
- India has lost access to 26 out of 65 Patrolling Points in eastern Ladakh.
- The loss of access has resulted in the loss of pasture lands in Gogra hills, the North Bank of Pangong Tso, and Kakjung areas.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims that no Indian territory has been occupied.
- However, access to lands traditionally used by Indians is being surrendered routinely.
Factors hindering the Indian response:
- The Indian aversion to denouncing the Chinese can be attributed to several factors.
- One of these is the growing power differential between the two countries.
- There is also uncertainty about the strategic actions of major powers such as the U.S. in case of a military stand-off.
- Another factor is the military capability differential between India and China.
- Pressure from Indian business interests anxious to safeguard trade is also a factor.
- Lack of consensus within the various ministries of the government about the kind of response the Chinese threat merits is another factor.
- Finally, there is a lack of political will within an increasingly hyper-nationalist, image-conscious Bharatiya Janata Party government.
- The Indian government has responded to Chinese provocation with overcautious self-restraint.
- The government has refused even basic discussions on China in Parliament citing national security concerns.
- This approach overlooks China’s growing self-assertiveness on its land and sea borders.
- Chinese actions border on belligerence and have set alarm bells ringing in Asian capitals and Washington.
Lessons from history:
- Nehru envisioned India and China as the two major South Asian civilizations.
- India was one of the first countries to recognize the Communist government in China due to this vision.
- India softened its line on China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet.
- India also overlooked China’s encroachment on its borders and cartographical aggression. This was all done in the pursuit of Chinese goodwill.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s current policy of Chinese appeasement seems similar to Nehru’s approach.
China’s image building exercise:
- China is a one-party state and doesn’t have to worry about public approval.
- The Chinese Communist Party has built its domestic credibility by boosting its international image.
- The “peaceful rise” theory used to anchor its image, but now it’s about projecting strength, determination, and economic might.
- China is unwilling to compromise on what it sees as its core national interests.
Possible UPSC CSE Mains questions
- Discuss the factors hindering India’s response to Chinese provocation and the lessons that can be learned from history.
- Analyze India’s approach to dealing with Chinese aggression in recent times, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
- Critically evaluate India’s current policy of Chinese appeasement, drawing parallels with Nehru’s approach to dealing with China.
- Discuss the impact of China’s growing self-assertiveness on its land and sea borders on the regional and global order, and suggest ways in which India can respond to this challenge.
- Examine China’s image building exercise and its impact on international relations, with a focus on India-China relations.
- Assess the role of major powers such as the US and Russia in shaping India’s China strategy, and suggest measures that India can take to safeguard its strategic interests.
- Evaluate the implications of China’s growing economic and military might for India, and suggest ways in which India can respond to this challenge.
- Discuss the historical and cultural factors that shape India-China relations, and assess the prospects for cooperation and conflict between the two countries in the future.