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    Monday, January 11, 2021

    Revisiting the prospects of peace under the red sky of Line of Actual Control

    It's been since more than 45 years when China and India consented to make the peace. In any case, right now the prospects of peace under the red sky of Galwan Valley appears to be more far off than at any time in my recent memory. The disturbing drift of Nepal away from India and towards China is appearing to be similarly grieved for Narendra Modi led Hindu Nationalist Government about the conditions in the region of Himalayas.

    China has been the world’s economic darling for the past 40 years whereas seemingly the balance for the shift in the economic power towards India and Israel has already begun. The technical advancement and infrastructural development in China has been undeniably increasingly expeditious in many terms as compared to any developing nation including India. Until the long periods of the Ming dynasty, the revelations and innovations contributed by China had once depicted an image of a world pioneer and a significant monetary contributor of East Asia in the heuristic fields of science and technology. Despite the slowdown of China based manufacturing over the past decade, the country has still managed to be the largest manufacturer in the world. On the other hand, India has started to show some signs of rising up in taking away China’s massive manufacturing power and industrial production. Given a condition if such push sustains, India can hopefully seek the natural opportunity of the Covid-19 spread and quietly become probably a new or definitely the rising economic superpower other than the United States and China. 

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    Indo-China Relations: 

    The ability to co-opt has been greatly influenced by the soft power or traditional cultural exchanges between China and India dating back to many centuries. There have been conceptual and linguistic exchanges between Shang-Zhou civilisation in China and the Ancient Vedic period during 1500-1000 BC. However, the ancient route of Commerce from many centuries has been a part of the trade exchange between East and West. Many Buddhist pilgrims, monks and scholars have travelled on the same route for the spread for the values of Buddhism during 1-3 A.D. Similarly, many Chinese pilgrims through this route had visited India and famous of them have been Xuang Zang and Fi Xian. After the independence, first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru made India among the first non-socialist bloc countries to have established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1950. Later on 20 October 1962, the border conflict of Ladakh and North East Frontier Agency led to unwanted Sino-India war the People's Liberation Army of China invaded the disputed areas of interest in a synchronised move. Nehru began to move with the demand of an military aid from the United States which has somehow pressurised the Central Intelligence Agency to run subversion operations targeting Tibet. Nearly a month later, on 20 November 1962, China declared the ceasefire and simultaneously announced its withdrawal from one of the two disputed areas. The end of the conflict led to the removal of Indian posts and patrols from Aksai Chin which had now gone under the direct influence of Chinese control. Even more significantly, in 1967, The Nathu La and Cho La clashes termed as Second Sino-Indian War broke out on the Doklam plateau and this time a face-off for self-respect lasted for over two months. This face-off was the last time for which the soldiers escalated into a bloody firefight along the border. 

    In the late 1970s, the motives for the encouragement of anti-Indian tendencies in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan were again pulpatting. Likewise, Pakistan had been China’s major anti-Indian partner. Thereby, the New Delhi regime under Indira Gandhi’s powerful regime turned to the Sovient Union and other powers hostile to China, mainly Vietnam. In 1976, India agreed to establish a rice research institute in the Mekong Delta and a Dairy Buffalo and Pasture Research Center in BenCat. This was the first time any Prime Minister has taken the stricken and determined measures for establishing India as the preeminent power in South Asia. Likewise, Prime Minister Mrs. Gandhi was very sensitive to the penetration of the United States into the Indian Ocean, the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, and China into Southeast Asia. Mrs Gandhi cautiously engineered improvements in Sino-Indian relations from 1981 to 1984, she also expanded India's ties with Vietnam and Kampuchea.

    After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, a more stronger and young leadership of Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister of India led to stronger relationship with Washington. This was the first time when any Indian Prime Minister was overpowered for the vision during a visit to Washington where US President Ronald Reagan was seen holding an umbrella for Mr. Gandhi. This was seen as an affection and respect to the rising power of India in South Asia. Like it should have been, the prospects of peace were now somehow moving towards stability under the blue sky but once again Beijing had forgotten growing power under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi. In 1987, a third military conflict arose when Chinese army occupied an Indian patrol point in Sumdorong Chu valley in Arunachal Pradesh. However, Beijing's tone in early 1987 became similar to that of 1962, and with the Indian Army refusing to stand down, Western diplomats predicted a war. However, the result of rising Indian global presence was the bloodless conflict where both sides show military restraint. Many would say that China had won the war but this time Rajiv Gandhi’s historic majority government won the hearts of the Arunachal tribes and instilled a spirit of Indian nationalism. Later In 1988, the strategic outmaneuvering along LAC and landmark visit of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China led to more healthier bilateral ties between the countries. Later in 1993, Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao signed the agreement for maintaining the peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Finally, the immense growth for the prospects of peace under the red sky were now quite observable, for whose initiations were somehow influenced by Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1988. Later, Vajpayee came into power and this was the first time that any Prime Minister who accepted a secondary role in a China-dominated Asia. During a last official visit to Beijing in 2003, Vajpayee announced that “India had recognised Tibet as part of China's territory”. This miffed diplomatic game-plan spurred the concerns among Tibetian exiles when Vajpayee signed a treaty with China accepting the division of Tibet into Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan. Chinese scholars referred to Vajpayee as ‘an architect of China-India policy’ but the world powers especially Tokyo wasn’t pleased at the one-sided bargain struck by Vajpayee’s Government. 

    Silk Route Initiatives of 2013: 

    Currently, China has been eyeing global supremacy by building the world's largest infrastructure project spanning multiple oceans and continents around the world. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the revival of the ancient silk route naming it as One Belt One Road (OBOR). This leads to ease transfer of no-string-attached loans into the capital hungry developing countries of African continent, putting China front and center on the world stage. On the other hand, Vice President of the United States Mark Pence termed it as debt diplomacy giving the upteem power to Chinese Government in seizing the collateral to recoup the investments made in the form of no-string-attached loans. 

    Ignoring India's demand to revert to a status-quo in Depsang Valley, Chinese army in the year 2013 encroached about 19 kms inside India with well planned initiatives taken at the highest level of Chinese leadership being thought as the collateral damage to the ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ relationships. These initiatives came at the same time, when various countries under the empowered power of the West started to increasingly worry about the perception of what Chinese are going to do with the thought of the ancient Silk Route. I personally believe it to be the similar streak of the incident where whenever China is under the economic pressure of the world, the dragon tries to bite off its competitive neighbour even more than it can chew. However, one more of the general reasons for “why always stronger India and not the weaker leadership of Pakistan?”, is the miffed conditions and aggression of the Chinese leadership at the presence of the Dalai Lama in India. Following the planned initiative in Ladakh, not only Tibetians but many Indians took to the road and waged protests for the first time against newly elected trendsetter Chinese leadership. In the same year, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited China and gave a speech at China's central party school in Beijing. Dr. Singh and Premier Li Keqiang signed nine-agreements with an aim to break out a new dawn of Indian-China relationships. The agreement included the water defense cooperation with the actual motive of building confidence-measure between the two countries. This agreement committed peace by not using the military capabilities to attack each other and not to tell each other's patrol along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
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