The killing of atleast 20 Indian Army personnel, has brought two nuked Asian giants at the Brink of war. The face-off has vitiated and undermined the disengagement agreed upon few days ago between senior military officers on both sides and hardened the stand-off between two countries. Hence throws up new challenges in the path of de-escalation.
The massive toll, biggest since the 1967 border clash at Sikkim and the first combat casualties since 1975 strikes at the heart of every bilateral agreement and understanding to maintain peace and tranquility along the India-China border since 1993.
The clashes came after both sides had publicly stated that the situation was under control and that disengagement had begun in the Galwan area of Ladakh region..
Both Beijing and New Delhi have accused each other’s Army of violating the consensus that the two sides have arrived at to solve the skirmish.
India’s political illusions about China are becoming increasingly unsustainable and Delhi has arrived at an inflection point in it’s policies towards Beijing. If Beijing refuses to restore the status quo ante on the frontiers, it will push India irrevocably towards a comprehensive and long term political, diplomatic and military strategy of responding purposefully.
At this backdrop, it is necessary for India to introspect it’s foreign policy with regard to it’s neighbours and hence re-design it to maintain peace and tranquility in Asia in general and South Asia in particular.
In pursuit of it’s Hindutva agenda, India has meddled the Kashmir issue with it’s political adventurism. By revoking unilaterally and unconstitutionally Article 370 and 35A, India undermined and fraught the disputed nature of the state. Such political stance has provoked not only Pakistan, but also China. By making Ladakh a separate UT and making provoking statements of taking back Aksai Chin has taken the attention of Chinese leadership and military brass.
Delhi can’t ignore the profound change in Beijing’s world view and the new sense in Beijing that it can afford to take on all comers. Nor can Delhi turn a blind eye to President Xi’s political swagger, China’s growing assertiveness in the territorial disputes with it’s neighbours, it’s simmering cold war with the U. S, and the PLA’s aggressive postures on the ground.
New Delhi should activate all political lines of communication with Beijing, including the ones between the special representatives to the border negotiations and the foreign ministers, to make the point and take it forward.
In this context, the strained ties with Nepal over Lipulekh pass for Kailash Mansarovar, and then remapping of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as it’s areas are diplomatic setback for India much to the advantage of China. In addition to the CPEC, eye-sour for India is thread of the BRI and predatory debt diplomacy.
Under these circumstances, India should continue it’s endeavours to consolidate it’s solidarity and amity among neighbours and all democratic powers of the world.
#opinion expressed are personal, build over recent skirmish between India and China. #
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