Why border stand-offs between India and China are increasing?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by kseeker, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

    Jul 24, 2013
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    BBC News - Why border stand-offs between India and China are increasing


    After a two-week standoff, India and China have agreed to pull back troops from their disputed border, but such incidents have been increasing and are unlikely to go away, says analyst Harsh V Pant.

    Minor incursion by troops are common on the ill-defined 4,057km (2,520 miles) border between China and India.

    There are differing perceptions on where the border lies and overlapping claims about the lines up to which both sides patrol. As a result, both Indian and Chinese troops routinely transgress into areas claimed by the other side.

    According to the Indian Home Ministry, there have been 334 "transgressions" by Chinese troops over the Indian border in the first 216 days of this year.

    Departing from their past practice, however, Indian security forces are now more aggressive with daily patrolling along certain areas on the border and ready to forbid Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto border.

    This is partly responsible for the increase in stand-offs between the two sides in recent years, but there is a bigger story too.

    Serious dimension

    Border incursions have been repeatedly used by China to keep India on the defensive. Before every major bilateral visit, such incursions tend to take a serious dimension.

    In May 2013, Indian officials accused Chinese troops of straying into Indian territory and putting up tents in the Depsang valley in Ladakh, just before Prime Minister Li Keqiang's visit to India. The matter was resolved days before the visit started.

    But the latest stand-off coincided with a visit to India by Chinese President Xi Jinping, resulting in embarrassing media headlines.

    It is possible that after feting Mr Modi's landslide election victory, Beijing was annoyed by his government's foreign policy moves, in particular with Mr Modi condemning "18th century expansionist mindset: encroaching on other countries, intruding in other's waters, invading other countries and capturing territory" during his recent trip to Japan and India, giving a boost to its ties with Japan and Vietnam days before Mr Xi's visit.

    The Chinese forces might also be probing Indian defences along the disputed border and testing India's willpower to stay the course.

    The Chinese have invested in border infrastructure much more efficiently than India, where border management continues to suffer from serious deficiencies.

    With its repeated transgressions, Beijing has underscored Indian vulnerabilities and the potential costs of challenging China. And with every intrusion, China changes the ground realities at the border, gaining ever more territory in the process and redrawing the map in its favour.

    However, it is not readily evident if such an approach would benefit China strategically.

    Damp squib

    Many believe China has failed to use the opportunity that Mr Modi coming to power gave to Beijing to re-examine the assumptions of its bilateral ties with India.

    Mr Xi's visit was widely viewed in India as a damp squib. Even on the economic front, the visit was a disappointment.

    There were media reports in India of China pledging $100bn (£61bn) of investment in India. However, only $20bn-worth of deals could be finalised over the next five years.

    Officially, Beijing has maintained that Mr Xi's visit to India helped in removing "some suspicions" between the two nations, pushed the ties to a "new age", and that an "important consensus" was reached on politically resolving the border issue through friendly consultation.

    But on the eve of his visit to the US, Mr Modi is challenging Beijing by asserting that India cannot close its eyes to problems underscoring that "we are not living in the 18th Century".

    Given the turmoil it faces on its eastern flank, it is in China's interest to ensure that India does not join the US-led balancing coalition in Asia.

    But with its hard line on the border issue, Beijing might just push New Delhi into a tighter embrace of Japan and the US.

    Harsh V Pant is Professor of International Relations at King's College, London.
  3. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2014
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    These are psychological operations. There is no firing which says a lot.

    Chinese are showing that they are the bigger bully.

    However I doubt that this translates into near term military conflict.
  4. Sylex21

    Sylex21 Regular Member

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I'm skeptical of the claim that China is eating away Indian land, usually by the end of the confrontation the Chinese have retreated back to their original positions. Time is on India's side, with more room to develop India will likely gain more from peace than China.

    As each year goes by:
    -India forms better and closer alliances/co-operation with Japan/USA/NATO/Western World/Other Pacific allies like Vietnam ---> China isn't really gaining any new powerful friends
    -China's demographic burden inches closer, their population is rapidly aging and 3 young workers supporting 1 old retiree will flip in time to 3 old retired persons supported by just one working age individual.
    -India has more room to improve and so each year sees more fundamental development in India. (The value of a road where there was never one before such in the case of India is far greater than a road twice as wide as is the case of China)
    -China's economy is generally slowing
    -India's economy is generally increasing, it is only a matter of time before India's growth rate over take's China's.

    Conclusion: India and China were tied only a few decades ago, China has managed to shoot ahead because it started its industrial reforms 14 years earlier, among other reasons. India is almost certain to close the gap in the coming decades as China won't be able to hold its lead over underdeveloped India forever. So India need only keep the peace and be patient.
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  5. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2014
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    I think peace with China will hold despite Chinese "unhappiness" over rising India's military capability.

    The Chinese will use Pakistan as proxy to show their displeasure (probably other India's neighbours too).

    If the Indian government is strong and resolute, the Chinese plans to hurt India by proxy are unlikely to have much effect.

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