- In 1951, China became India‘s neighbour not owing to geography but by annexing Tibet. In recent years China has created conflict zone across the Himalayas especially in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Arunachal Pradesh is internationally recognized as a state belongs to India. It is influenced by Tibetan, Burmese and Bhutanese culture.
- China lays its claim on Arunachal Pradesh (AP) on the basis of its cultural similarity with Tibet. It has gone to the extent of citing of birth of 6th Dalai Lama in Tawang District (AP) in 17th century. The irony is that China openly covets AP as a cultural extension to Tibet, thus is a part of China.
- China‘s claim on Arunachal Pradesh can‘t be driven by insecurity of India‘s rise in Asia rather it can be treated as a classic attempt of incremental annexation.
- Since 2000, China has been claiming AP (earlier only Tawang) in its entirety and is motivated by its desire to put a stop on Tibetan nationalism which it believes is fueled by support from India.
- Arunachal Pradesh is also strategically located at the confluence of the international borders of India, China, Myanmar and Bhutan.
- This extension of territorial claims and increasing aggressions in Arunachal Pradesh, East and South- China sea Islands, indicates a concerted strategy of widening of China‘s sphere of influence and control.
Why BRI is not good?
- The previous Chinese investments in the continent of Africa as well as in India’s neighbourhood in Sri Lanka and Myanmar have faced strong local backlash for several reasons
- Many of the projects have proved economically unviable, thus impeding the ability of recipient countries to service the loans
- A debt to equity swap leaves them with the undesirable option of China owning strategic assets in their countries which can likely be used for military purposes
- The tempting loans come with many riders and the recipient countries have to source much of their material from China
- Often, a Chinese state-owned enterprise leads the project and large numbers of labourers, including low-skilled ones, are imported from China itself
- All kinds of charges, ranging from environmental degradation to labour exploitation, have been levelled against Chinese companies
Initial Response of BRI:
- Pakistan hesitant to accept the tariffs for power produced by projects under CPEC
- The refinery built by a Chinese state-owned company in Kyrgyzstan has found it difficult to source crude oil
- Political and social discontent in the Central Asian country is already growing
- Entire national election campaigns were held on an anti-China plank in countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka
- For many of the BRI projects, even the Chinese admit will end up bleeding money
Measures India can take
- Infrastructure boost : A wait-and-watch strategy on the BRI does no harm for the moment but New Delhi should simultaneously step up its infrastructure building in India and the neighbourhood
- Partnership with Japan : It should look to pool its resources with the Japanese Partnership for Quality Infrastructure (PQI). Even if India and Japan cannot match the scale and ambitions of BRI, they will gradually begin to attract partners which will likely be alienated as the true costs and motives of Chinese investments begin to show
- PM Modi and Chinese President met in Wuhan in April 2018.
- Wuhan Summit is projected as a major shift in India-China relations.
- Both leaders has met in Qingdao, and in Johannesburg in South Africa after Wuhan.