While the confusion in Northern Sikkim was resolved locally, those in East Ladakh continued to speculate about China’s intentions, in the framework of mutually agreed protocols.
At the strategic and operational levels, both soldiers applied restrictions. However, at the tactical level, confrontations occur due to different perceptions of where the real limit is, as the LAC is not defined on the ground. While interfaces are resolved locally, those related to infrastructure construction such as roads and defense fortifications always take longer and require a combination of military and diplomatic initiatives.
Faced with countless internal and external challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, China may well offend the risky adventurism in the Himalayas. A conflict with India, its main regional strategic rival, will not only unite its problems, but will seriously hamper its journey to become a global superpower by 2050. With the US, some fabrications are separated and the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative slows down. Global demand to Hong Kong protests, Taiwan’s conflict and its role in the coronavirus pandemic also contributed to its troubles.
Moreover, Beijing’s ambitious behavior, banning Pakistan, the entire weather strategic partner in the region, combined with the alleged pandemic role, created an anti-Chinese sentiment in Asian countries, where it was confidently welcomed as part of its protection strategy against India. India would be good to use it for its own benefit.
China is aware of the current war potential of the Indian army and has seen that since the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962 it has still become an accountable, sensitive and powerful element of national power over the controversial Himalayan border. Both soldiers have been training together for years to develop interoperability to undertake humanitarian, disaster relief and counter-terrorism operations. Understanding each other’s military skills helps create mutual deterrence, as both sides realize the dire consequences of a conflict. India, under current political leadership, tended to use force when provoked. Jammu and Kashmir’s variable and complex proxy battlefield helped the Indian army to harden its troops in battle.
While a conflict is a remote possibility in the near future, India must continue seriously to develop its military capacity to deter aggression, and if this fails, it must fight to win a war for the country. It is definitely not a good idea to rely on any external force to fight Indian wars. As a great power emerging, India needs to carry its own big stick.
But for larger economic and geostrategic gains, the solution is a peaceful solution. There is enough space in the world for two Asian giants to grow at the same time.
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