China’s increasing aggressive gestures against India – UPSC GS2

China’s aggressive gestures against India:
  • Renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh: Beijing renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh, following the six it had done in 2017, weeks after the Dalai Lama visited Tawang. China justifies the renaming as being done on the basis of its historical, cultural and administrative jurisdiction over the area. It said that ancient names of these areas were changed by India after “illegal occupation”.
  • New land border law: On January 1, 2022, it’s new land border law came into force. This law supports, and mutually reinforces the construction of Xiaokang border villages by China along its disputed border with India.
  • Border Villages: As per satellite images, at least two of these villages have been constructed on the Indian side of the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. These villages will come in handy for Beijing when the principle of ‘settled areas’ is invoked to resolve the border dispute in the future.
  • Emboldened Chinese diplomats: Even the diplomats, posted at the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, have been emboldened by India’s cautious response to Chinese Govt’s gestures. Recently, Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, Zhou Yongsheng wrote an angry letter to Indian Members of Parliament, including two Union Ministers, for attending a meet organised by the Tibetan government-in-exile. This angry missive (long official letter) from an Embassy official to two Ministers has earned no reaction or condemnation from the Government for the Chinese Ambassador.
Challenges before India:
  • India has run out of proactive options against Beijing that will force its leadership to change course on its India policy. Tibet and the Dalai Lama are no longer effective deterrents.
  • Beijing does not care for its declining popularity among the Indian populace.
  • There is a huge trade deficit between India and China, which is driven by Indian dependency on Chinese manufacturing. This situation has further worsened by the Government’s mishandling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Way Forward:
  • The Quad has remained a non-military grouping. Moreover, the signing of the AUKUS and the humiliating American exit from Afghanistan proves that India will have to deal with the Chinese challenge on the border on its own.
  • India can prevent any further loss of territory to China with extensive military deployment on the LAC, while hoping that the crisis is resolved with Moscow’s help. Russia has offered a Foreign Ministers meeting Russia-India-China grouping, but India has stressed on China to take some steps first to resolve the border crisis.
  • Government should adopt a collegial and deliberative model of decision-making, which requires cooperation and consensus among different stakeholders.

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