India-China conflict – The real cause?

India and China were involved in a deadly skirmish along the border in Ladakh on the night of 15th June. While 20 Indian soldiers were killed, the number on the Chinese side was never disclosed.

The cause of this violent clash has remained elusive. While the larger narrative has been around the unclear and heavily disputed Himalayan border shared by the two Asian giants; it has been easy to overlook a more recent and important development in the bilateral relations.

When India imposed a strict lockdown in its early days of grappling with Covid-19, the stock markets plummeted, testing new lows everyday. Business valuations took a major hit. While we were busy finding ways to recover from the twin shock on both health and economic front; our opportunist neighbour China was quick to make major investments in the country’s banking sector. New Delhi was swift in its response and government approval route was mandated for FDIs from countries which shared a land border with India. 

In the past decade, the world has seen growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region which is based on huge infrastructure and military investments (often undermining the sovereignty of economically vulnerable nations). Its larger objective of gaining global supremacy is underpinned on its trade surplus with the world and consequent use of these earnings in financing controversial projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Given this backdrop, New Delhi’s changed rule for FDI may not have gone down well with the top leadership in Beijing. Within a couple of months of this decision, the Chinese soldiers engaged in a deadly clash with India along the border, which is a first in more than four decades (the last violent confrontation had taken place in 1967). 

No wonder, response from the Indian side has majorly been economic : reducing and eliminating Chinese imports; boosting domestic manufacturing sentiment and banning Chinese apps. The message has been loud and clear – India would not give up its economic sovereignty against the threat of China flexing its muscles along the border.

Beijing has already been grappling with a lot of bad press consequent to the spread of Covid-19. It would do it more harm than good engaging into a full-blown war. And if two nuclear countries of this magnitude are eventually forced to go to war, experts believe it won’t take much time culminating into a world war as the existing and wannabe world superpowers will see it as an opportunity to gain global influence.

Beijing has already been grappling with a lot of bad press consequent to the spread of Covid-19. It would do it more harm than good engaging into a full-blown war.

The bellicose news reporters would do good to take a deep breath and bring down their narrative on India’s willingness and preparedness to revenge 1962 and should instead place their focus on deescalating public opinion. 

We must not forget – diplomacy can achieve what war never can. War is simply a consequence of diplomatic failure.


4 July 2020 at 1:00 AM

Is China surrounding us?

    4 July 2020 at 1:07 PM

    Yes, it is trying. One, by influencing our smaller neighbours for giving into China’s larger ambitions. Two, by setting up its military bases / ports in island nations. Three, by dominating trade globally. Four, due to its expanding military might.

4 July 2020 at 9:30 AM

Very well explained!

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