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News Analysis |

The China-India border standoff got intense on Monday as Beijing accused Indian troops of intrusion across their disputed border and betrayal of a colonial era agreement it claimed to have been endorsed by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.Referring to “intrusion by Indian troops in the Sikkim sector”, the Chinese called it a “betrayal” of a colonial era understanding of the boundary alignment in this area.

Amid India’s standoff with China along the Sikkim border, the country will be hosting the Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh of Vietnam, a country with which Beijing’s ties has been bumpy for centuries. The visiting leader will hold consultations with top Indian leadership on expanding strategic partnership.

The Chinese allege that Indian troops have breached New Delhi’s well-recorded position of abiding by the 1890 British era convention defining the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet.The current border tension was triggered by the construction of a road by China in the Doklam area. New Delhi has maintained that the road construction will threaten its national security.

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Analysts say that the road will provide China further access to the Chumbi Valley, adding to the vulnerability of the “Chicken’s Neck”, a narrow corridor that links the Northeast with the rest of India.Amid India’s standoff with China along the Sikkim border, the country will be hosting the Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh of Vietnam, a country with which Beijing’s ties has been bumpy for centuries. The visiting leader will hold consultations with top Indian leadership on expanding strategic partnership.

The flamboyant statement by Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley who said that India was better prepared than it was in 1962 when it suffered a defeat in a short war with its neighbor points towards the fact that confidence among Indian policy makers has increased after the enhanced Indo-US relationship.

The new Indian strategy under Modi

India under Prime Minister Modi has taken a tough stance on a number of issues. The repressive response to the protests in Kashmir, the escalation along LOC and now increasingly intense relationship between Delhi and Beijing indicates a major shift in Indian policies on important strategic matters. India has changed its posture on the border with China. The army is in process of raising a strike corps and have also beefed up infrastructure in the area. The pep talk by the Indian Army Chief, General Rawat to elements of the 17 Mountain Division revolved around the need for India to hold ground.

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The flamboyant statement by Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley who said that India was better prepared than it was in 1962 when it suffered a defeat in a short war with its neighbor points towards the fact that confidence among Indian policy makers has increased after the enhanced Indo-US relationship. As the war of words escalated, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang responded to Mr. Jaitley’s remarks that “India of 2017 is different from what it was in 1962”, saying “China too is different and will take all necessary measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.”

For decades, India maintained a delicate balance between the major world powers. India enjoyed a good relationship with USSR while at the same time maintaining a link with the USA.

Beijing-Washington tiff

It is being opined that the US is trying to exacerbate the old rivalry between China and India. The US, after a brief thaw in ties, have raised the ante against China. It is miffed at China’s slackness in pressurizing North Korea to give up its nuclear program. Today, North Korea tested an ICBM which it claims can hit targets anywhere. This along with the muscle flexing and warnings on the South China Sea will certainly give rise to tensions between the two titans. India’s growing belligerence vis-à-vis China will or could be used as a plank by the US. The Trump administration may use India’s opposition to CPEC can also be played up by the US to hurt China’s burgeoning activities in the region.

Read more:The South China Sea heats up as US and China lock…

For decades, India maintained a delicate balance between the major world powers. India enjoyed a good relationship with USSR while at the same time maintaining a link with the USA. However, after India and USA signed, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016, Indian neutral stance is set to change. India’s growing defense ties with the US are one that will affect their military posturing with China and Pakistan.

Read more: Is India cutting ‘off its nose to spite its face’ on…

It is becoming increasingly evident that the budding relationship between India and USA has implications for China. The recent violation of LOAC by Indian troops comes at a time when PM Modi returned from the US. The recent provocation is a clear signal to China that it must now take India seriously.

 

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