Dr Arvind Kumar
China is giving India a tough and complex challenge politically, strategically, economically and environmentally. China’s military and economic clout provides it better prospects in international community where India has to struggle hard to make its presence felt. At this juncture, India can ill-afford to confront China militarily and such a move may not be in our national interest as well. While safeguarding its territorial and strategic interests, India should hone up its diplomatic skills in regional water diplomacy, environmental negotiations and undertaking joint economic ventures in Africa. It is important to keep China engaged through frequent high-level visits and expansion of economic cooperation in non-strategic areas. Regional forums like ASEAN-ARF and SCO should see increased bilateral interaction. Currently, when China is too sensitive to outside interference in South China Sea, in its backyard, India should tread with extra-caution to avoid any spillover effect in the India Ocean through its ‘pearl of strings.’
On the night of 15 April this year some 25-30 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came 10 km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector in Ladakh, which is at an altitude of about 17,000 feet. On 23 April, military delegations from both sides met again to try and resolve the standoff, but a four hour long meeting failed to break the deadlock, prolonging the latest flash point between the two nuclear armed powers. China’s denial of such reports is no news for India because occurrence of such incidents is a recurring phenomenon.
The forthcoming visit of the Chinese premier to India on 20 May this year should be utilized for removing cobwebs of misunderstanding on border incidents and increase economic cooperation.