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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Experts warn China that India may create new border conflict as a distraction

The two countries have been maintaining communication through military and diplomatic channels, however, according to experts, India may create new border tensions to divert attention from its worsening economic and pandemic situation.

Experts have said that despite China and India having channels to discuss disengagement in remaining regions, China should beware of nationalistic manipulation in India, following media concerns over the China-India border issue a year after the Galwan Valley clash.

On June 15, last year, the border spat between China and India turned into the first deadly military clash between the two since 1975, resulting in four Chinese deaths and those of at least 20 soldiers from India.

After the ninth round of senior commander-level talks, China and India announced an agreement for disengagement on the north and south bank of Pangong Lake in February.

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute of Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that most Chinese and Indian soldiers have disengaged.

Read more: India should ‘thank God’ hard-won situation in border areas

Albeit consensus failed to achieve in the remaining areas (such as the Hot Springs and Depsang Plains), the standoff scale is much smaller with a less significant impact.

In the eleventh round of senior commander-level talks that took place in Ladakh on April 9, senior representatives from the two countries met for 13 hours on the issue of disengagement at the remaining sites.

The two countries have been maintaining communication through military and diplomatic channels, said Qian, noting that due to the epidemic spike in India, face-to-face talks have been suspended, but the hotline and telephone communications are still available.

Some viewed the current China-India border situation much better than the same period last year. But experts warned that if the remaining stalemate persists, it will be detrimental to military-to-military relations and the stability of the western section of China-India border.

Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that if the economy and epidemic continues to worsen in India, India might start a new conflict on the border.

“India has a political tradition of always looking for border issues to distract attention when there is a crisis at home,” Hu said. “China needs to be very vigilant about this.”

Despite a downward trend in the epidemic, the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking more support in local elections, after defeats in crucial states in May.

China’s infrastructure along the border is well built and although there are not many troops on the front line, they can always be reinforced from the second line, Qian said.

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Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in May that India-China relations are at a crossroads, and they cannot think of cooperating with China in other areas as long as border tensions continue.

Courtesy: APP