By Mir Shahid
Amid the roaring of jets, the continuous amassing of troops in the Galwan valley of Ladakh has pushed India and China on the brink of yet another war. The de-escalation mechanism has largely failed as the Chinese ambitions over rightly put cold water on such initiatives. The escalation touched heights when 20 soldiers of the Indian army got killed in fierce scuffle on June 15. Thereafter the grapevine abuzz of retaliation and prolonged escalation amid usage of the missile system and et al remains to be a hot topic. It’s pertinent to state that temporary structures have been established by the Chinese army amid speculation of grabbing land on Indian side. China has officially laid sovereignty claim on the entire Galwan Valley which has been rejected by the establishment in Delhi as expected.
As far as the relationship between India and China is concerned, the history has remained witness to usual strain and stress in the chain with a tilt towards China. This rests on geographical confrontation to strategic one and the tussle for big power ambitions in the contemporary era. The strengthening of the China-Pakistan relationship has been amplified due to this rivalry on the global stage. Keeping this in view the Indian strategic leverage or influence as has been witnessed on other platforms especially for the rights of the developing world seems in troubled waters. The LAC has been largely peaceful except on certain occasions especially during Dokhlam standoff. However, the dramatic turn of China at Ladakh and huge deployment of troops and weaponry seem exceptional in the sense of prevailing global pandemic especially after the country’s handling South China Sea engagement and Hong Kong protests.
All these events point to the usage of muscle power for a great cause not just a small scale escalation as has happened in the past at the LAC. China is at the centre stage of global pandemic origin and its handling, especially when seen through the prism of the US’s approach. There are two prominent and trending theories behind the move of China at Ladakh.
As far as the relationship of India and China is concerned, the history has remained witness to usual strain and stress in the chain with a tilt towards China. This rests on geographical confrontation to strategic one and the tussle for big power ambitions in the contemporary era. China is playing an economic card with political designs which is actively manifested in the usage of veto, WHO funding and dictates, rejection of ICJ rulings, involvement in domestic concerns of Myanmar and et Al. This prowess is banked on the economic base of China which is in the stage of paying back the investment of 20th century
On one hand, China is deemed as frustrated in view of COVID dubious origin and handling which swept almost every corner especially superpower America. According to this theory, China is trying to hide the facts of the case and divert the attention of the global community from real issue confronted by the establishment in Beijing. This theory puts Hong Kong and Taiwan as yet another motivational factor behind Chinese incursions and fierce fights at the LAC. Moreover, the belief of escalation at a small scale is also preserved by this stand of the intellectual community. On the other hand, it’s pertinent to state that COVID virus has indeed swept every nook and corner of the globe but the facts aren’t co-terminus with LAC and South China Sea. Since the virus is of global in nature and the South China Sea dispute has been thing of past amid tough stand of China in Hong Kong affairs there’s little scope for people to give it a vote of confidence.
However, the balanced stand leads to a suitable and satisfactory target to unravel reality behind Chinese designs. And the prolonged escalation amid claims over Galwan Valley is making it so tough to go with this trend. Now what lies at the back of China’s hide feeling stance at the hands of Xi Jinping are somewhat different from what has been Chinese stand all the time in the history of the world. With a series of pacts ranging from 1993 agreement to 1996 and 2013 maintenance of peace and tranquillity at the LAC, followed by the Docklam crisis, the optimistic opinion is that things might turn calmer in the days to come. But the onslaught with fierce fights and building of structures points in the opposite direction. The reality which the ongoing encounter is pointing to reached the climax when PLA showed designs of controlling DBO road leading to Karakoram highway as continued use of pressure politics to get India to accept the dictates. The reality of such move is therefore to stop the DBO road infrastructure, to test the patience and defence mechanism of India, to favor the all-weather friend Pakistan in spirit of enemy’s enemy is a friend, to present the prowess of Chinese nation as a superpower and to set the new normal of acting as a dictator on the global podium. To start with, the Chinese President has successfully managed to script a novice strategy with a change in the Constitution in the letter as well as in spirit.
The DBO link provides India with an advance to Karakoram highway which is deemed as jugular vein of China-Pak axis. This axis strengthens the strain and pressures on China to safeguard the vulnerable link from Indian influence. The fingers overlooking the road are but a nucleus to be taken under control for any future misadventure and other designs.
China is playing an economic card with political designs which are actively manifested in the usage of veto, WHO funding and dictates, rejection of ICJ rulings, involvement in domestic concerns of Myanmar and et Al. This prowess is banked on the economic base of China which is in the stage of paying back the investment of 20th century. The global exporter is in a strategic shift especially after Trump order of US seeing retreating from various corners of the world. The LAC standoff is nothing but a tactic deployed by China to read the use of physical power and try to apply dictates at the global stage. Moreover, this paradigm changed to sensitive thinking in establishments at Beijing and Islamabad after India abrogated Article 370. Since Pakistan’s initiative to involve the third party is rejected by India on the claim that Kashmir is bilateral in the spirit of Shimla agreement. However, the Pakistan establishment succeeded in persuading China to denounce the unilateral action of India to abrogate Article 370. It is to be noted that China took it very seriously in the backdrop of changing status of Ladakh to Union territory which it deems is in contradiction to claims it is laying along LAC. The combined factors compelled China to lock horns which was expectedly supported by Pakistan. The abrogation of Article 370 on whatsoever grounds has put strains in the strings of the foreign policy of India. There are other factors behind this Chinese desire and claims regarding LAC. Moreover, Chinese prowess has altogether different concerns and priorities now which shall be kept in mind while dealing with Indian establishment. The serious thinking has to be panned out for positive outcome otherwise the escalation is going to pick status supremacy tussle which may cost dearly for India.
Summing up the entire edifice rests on the sound footing of fact that China is battling status supremacy concerns not countries at the borders. The claims, stakes and strategic compulsions of China have changed more than expected. The US retreat and anti-China policies has toughened the stand of China on almost all the issues it faces in the contemporary era. China is showing eyes to Japan over island issue, Canada on Hon Kong issue, Britain on citizenship concerns etc. It has been more proactive after the change in the Constitution and insertion of Xi’s philosophy in guiding principles.
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