The turf war between India and China, resulting in a military attack by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) in which more than 20 Indian soldiers were martyred on 15 June in the Galwan valley, stirred the Sino-Indian relationship and turned it sour again. In turn, India resorted to a digital surgical strike, banning 59 Chinese mobile applications. Consequently, to placate the outrage, both of them disengaged their armies along the border. But we can’t assume this as a termination to the dispute.
Throughout history, both countries have shown bonhomie as well as stiff responses to each other over several issues, including the full-fledged war of 1962. The following article deals with the historical development of the Sino-Indian relationship and the present scenario.
Both India and China, being two rising powers in South Asia, share two ancient civilisations of the world, the highest populations of the world; China followed by India.
India showed respect to China by recognising Communist China in 1949 and recognising Taiwan as a part of the PRC (People’s Republic of China). But this bonhomie received a severe jolt when India dissented to recognise China’s invasion of Tibet.
The Panchsheel agreement of 1954, envisaging “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai“, couldn’t prevent the full-fledged war of 1962 resulting out of China’s derecognition of the LAC as an international border between them. Again, China’s veto against India as a permanent member of the UNSC also makes both hostile to each other. Although both the countries sharing ambassadors with each other furthered diplomatic relations, those attempts failed to prevent the skirmishes between them.
India’s claim over Kashmir infuriated China. They believe that India’s claim over Kashmir is “illegal”. Building border infrastructure along the LAC proved to be hostile. Though India is the largest trading partner of China, it’s favoured towards China, leaving little profit for India. Again, the land dispute over Doklam concerning three countries also intensified the bitterness between them.
Currently, the pandemic has stirred the world in an unprecedented way. India, already suffering from low economic growth and unemployment, is witnessing an economic threat. At a time when we need to shift our investment more on public health, to nationalise more hospital beds, providing PPEs to Corona warriors, etc., it will be futile to reckon a war without preparedness. We can’t incur more cost for arsenals and weapons at the cost of millions suffering from the pandemic.
Similarly, we may not be able to prevent China’s aggression leading to a war-like situation. The strife between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea, Trump’s vision to extend G7 on the one hand and the growing close ties between Indian and the U.S. may provoke China.
For a short term remedy, high-level bilateral talks are a good option to placate the outrage. But only talks can’t resolve the never-ending dispute that we have witnessed for the last six decades.
Ultimately, as soon as the pandemic disappears, we need to re-recognise the LAC accepted by both the parties to terminate the turf war or we may never be able to resolve it, it will only be protracted longer.