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Monday, April 12, 2021

The new equation between India-China border

Presently, India and China are moving towards the new equilibrium along the Line of Actual Control. The LAC will be marked by buffer zones and winter withdrawals, in this new India-China border equation, which is similar to the Line of Control (LOC), which has firing range distances and constant friction and permanent deployment. The primary challenge is the manage this transition.

To look for the restoration of the pre-April LAC, there are very limited options for India. Both countries won’t withdraw their position of strength. This might seem like India has accepted a portion of land behind its version of LAC, so all the effort must be gathered to make China vacate their control. But in reality, neither side had any actual control of any portion of the territory. It has always been a part of the no-man’s land and their deployments have now shortened their barrier to nothing, and this is a reality which the Indian border policy is currently adjusting.

Distinguished Fellow, United Service Institution of India and the Institute of Defence of Studies and Analysis, Mr. Sanjaya Baru points out a fundamental difference; “India has better military and diplomatic space although the major power differential is economic and technological. China outranks India many times over. Xi Jinping’s confidence is based on the material foundation of Chinese power, which is requiring PM Narendra Modi to adapt to a more cautious approach. India has to carry on focusing on its democratic and economic capability and human capital. There are no short cuts to global power and influence.”

Now, can this turn out to be a negative consequence for China?

The probability the stand-off will continue even in the cold winters of Ladakh. “This consequence is not just militarily but on many levels. First one: What has the president of China achieve by trying to advance a few hundred meters in Galway, Gogra, and Pangong Tso?” said Claude Arpi of India, China, Tibet, and Indo-French relations. This Chinese chess move has been attributed to different moves by them. Beijing planned on stopping the Darbuk -Shyok-DBO Road, protecting China’s projects in Gilgit Baltistan and the Shaksgam valley, which is occupied by China, gaining strategic advantages on the ground. Enhancing Chairman Xi’s prestige and the People’s Liberation Army standing to be boosted, humiliating an arrogant competitor, which is India, during the time of weakness.

It was also rumored that the General of People’s Liberation Army, China, and the Western Theatre Common Chief, thought he would acquire a seat in Ladakh in the powerful Central Military Commission. Infrastructure development will continue and India will not renounce its legitimate claims on Gilgit-Baltistan, and so on. China today is the loser. Claude Arpi writes: “Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Xinjiang may come up for discussion in the not-too-far future and the ‘One-China’ policy may be questioned in many quarters.”

It’s time for a change in India’s position over Tibet.

Special Frontier Force (SFF) soldier Nyima Tenzin’s funeral ceremony is a significant event for India-China relations. In one of the battles along the borders, on 29th August, Nyima Tenzin was killed. The Funeral Ceremony was telecasted across India and solemnly conveyed an acknowledgment of the role of ethnic Tibetans. Descendants of those who had sought refuge in India after China’s invasion and occupancy of Tibet in 1950.

Executive Editor of Hindustan Times, Shishir Gupta writes; “The myth of India’s Tibet card is finally shattered. The event was more significant, that India questioned China’s sovereignty over Tibet which is a red line for China. There was no response from the government if the publicity for the funeral was a policy shift or a signal to China that their current border standoffs at eastern Ladakh could be extended across the Himalayas, a strategic ace up the sleeve some analysts refer to as India’s Tibet card.”

“The younger generation will join the SFF in large numbers as the event has sent out a message that our contribution will be recognized,” said Gonpo Dhundup, the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, a body with 30,000 members and is fighting for the region’s freedom acknowledgment strongly. Now, over 100,000 Tibetans live in different parts of India.

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