India’s China Strategy Needs To Be Debated

India’s China Strategy Needs To Be Debated


  • They most recently “renamed” 11 locations in Arunachal Pradesh, which they believe to be “Zangnam” or, in English, “South Tibet,” in April. The announcement was made following State Council approval, indicating that it had the go-ahead from the very top of the Chinese government. 
  • The move by China to “standardise” names in Zangnam, according to Zhang Yongpan of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “completely falls within China’s sovereignty and it is also following the regulation on the administration of geographical names.”

Indio-China Relationship

  • Historical links: Since ancient times, India and China have had cultural, religious, and economic relations.
  • Border disputes: The unresolved border dispute between the two countries has resulted in multiple military engagements in the past. The two countries’ boundary is not legally delineated, and there are territorial disputes in various regions.
  • Despite border tensions, trade between the two countries has increased dramatically in recent years. Although China is India’s most important trading partner, there is a trade imbalance in China’s favour.
  • Strategic rivalry: India and China are both growing countries vying for influence in the region. This competitiveness can be seen in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and India’s Act East policy.
  • Cultural exchanges: Both countries have a diverse cultural legacy and have previously exchanged cultural delegations and events.
  • Cooperation in multilateral forums: India and China are both members of various multilateral forums, including the BRICS, G20, and SCO, and have cooperated in these forums on subjects of mutual interest.
  • Geopolitical consequences: The India-China relationship has far-reaching geopolitical repercussions, not just for the two countries themselves, but for the entire region. Other major powers, like the United States, Russia, and Japan, are keeping a careful eye on the relationship between the two countries.

Points to Ponder:

  • As part of a long-standing strategy, China has recently changed the names of 11 locations in Arunachal Pradesh to “Zangnam” or “South Tibet.”
  • However, this is not China’s first provocative step in recent months, and there hasn’t been a meaningful attempt at a resolution since the Galwan standoff in June 2020. India has condemned this act of nomenclatural aggression.
  • 26 of the 65 Patrolling Points (PP) in eastern Ladakh are now inaccessible to India, causing the loss of pastureland and the creation of impromptu buffer zones. This is a serious risk to national security.
  • The Indian government is notable for its refusal to publicly denounce the threat posed by China and for refusing to allow even a rudimentary discussion of China in Parliament.
  • India’s reluctance to criticise China has been influenced by several factors, including the widening power gap, uncertainty over the actions of superpowers like the US, the military capability gap, pressure from Indian business interests, a lack of agreement within government ministries, and a lack of political will within the BJP government.
  • Potential partners are perplexed by the too-cautious self-restraint displayed by the Indian administration, which ignores the rise in Chinese assertiveness that verges on belligerence.
  • India may be making the same mistakes it did during its pre-1962 interaction with Communist China when India softened its stance on China’s incursion on its borders and territorial aggression due to Nehru’s view of China and India as the two major South Asian civilizations.
  • Although the Indian government is bolstering its border defences and developing infrastructure on the Indian side, China’s build-up and ongoing “salami-slicing” activities on the disputed border remain unabated.
  • China’s effort to project an assertive image is to convey power, tenacity, economic might, and a refusal to give ground on what it perceives as its primary national objectives.
  • The first step in starting a process to solve an issue is to acknowledge it.


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