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  Opinion   Edit  27 Dec 2022  AA Edit | China ties can’t be normal if border is at boiling point

AA Edit | China ties can’t be normal if border is at boiling point

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 27, 2022, 11:29 pm IST
Updated : Dec 27, 2022, 11:29 pm IST

India can see no logic in China’s approach of seeking normality in ties in all other areas while the border is kept at boiling point

Of greater concern now for India is the latest twist in power politics in Nepal leading to the CPN (Maoist Centre)’s Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” becoming the Prime Minister, in a coalition agreement with the CPN (Unified Marxist Leninist) led by K.P. Oli, who will clearly have the upper hand.  — AFP
 Of greater concern now for India is the latest twist in power politics in Nepal leading to the CPN (Maoist Centre)’s Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” becoming the Prime Minister, in a coalition agreement with the CPN (Unified Marxist Leninist) led by K.P. Oli, who will clearly have the upper hand. — AFP

A year of uneasy calm on the border with China shattered with a major clash in Yangste in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh in December. The event was seen by India as a real indicator of China’s intentions in keeping the pot boiling on the frontier. It was anachronistic then that Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, in his roundup of China’s foreign relations in 2022, should continue to offer to work with India for a steady growth of ties.

India can see no logic in China’s approach of seeking normality in ties in all other areas while the border is kept at boiling point with China strenuously building up infrastructure and doing little about the aggressive behaviour of its troops. India’s troop numbers have also been rising proportionately on the border ever since the Galwan clashes took place in the summer of 2020.

Wang Yi’s comment that both countries are committed to upholding stability in the border areas does not stand scrutiny when China has been ratcheting up tension and creating new flashpoints all along the border from Ladakh through Sikkim, the Doklam plateau, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and strategic trijunction points with Bhutan and Nepal.

True, there have been military commander-level talks, as many as 17 of them at the corps commanders’ level, but showing few tangible results, apart from India being outfoxed in the initial negotiations to first surrender the strategic advantage of the heights overlooking the Galwan Valley while pulling back to old positions along the LAC. A similar spirit driving any mutual pullback in many other areas of conflagration has not been seen at the table. The only relief is that the talks are continuing.

Little perspicacity is needed to divine that India’s resources by way of Army deployment is stretched across two long fronts, along the LoC facing Pakistan, in Ladakh and in several other fronts facing China all along the LAC. Besides, fighter jets have also to be stationed closer to the borders as well as more equipment and drones used in enhanced surveillance of the kind that may have helped India sense PLA’s intentions in Tawang.

Of greater concern now for India is the latest twist in power politics in Nepal leading to the CPN (Maoist Centre)’s Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” becoming the Prime Minister, in a coalition agreement with the CPN (Unified Marxist Leninist) led by K.P. Oli, who will clearly have the upper hand. At a time when greater interplay is anticipated of Chinese, American and Indian influences in Nepal, India must look sharp enough in talking to all sides in Nepali politics.

It is to China’s advantage that India is unable to correct trade imbalance, though the deficit had declined to a five-year low of $45.8 billion in the first pandemic year of 2020 but since then has been widening again, soaring to over $75 billion in 2022. Countering China’s military belligerence, which extends to the Indian and Pacific Oceans leading to grave threat perceptions in Taiwan and even Japan, is a hard enough task. And India must try to do that while importing freely from China an array of goods, right down to mobile phones.

An extremely tense calendar year may be ending, but the pressures will remain, and India will continue to pay the price of vigilance, lest its territorial integrity be further compromised.

Tags: chinese foreign minister wang yi, galwan valley, doklam plateau, ladakh, indo-china clash, pushpa kamal dahal “prachanda", yangste in tawang arunachal pradesh