This is not the first time India and China have locked horns on the border. Even after 1962, Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army came on parallels to test the Political will and Defence Preparedness. In the encounter of 1967 Indian Army gave a bloody nose to its Chinese adversaries. The Nathu La clashes started on 11 September 1967, when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched an attack on Indian posts at Nathu La and lasted until 15 September 1967. In October 1967, another military duel took place at Cho La and efforts were defeated on the same day. Sources suggest that the Indian forces achieved “decisive tactical advantage” and overpowered the Chinese forces in these clashes. After such a humiliating episode Chinese have only gambled to cross the border and create a ruckus for the Indian Forces. Such particulars suggest that intellectuals predicting the full blown India-China war are satisfying their theoretical apprehensions. China has seen casualties of wars and stayed at the defeated side few a times in its extensive history.
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The realist school not always advocates war. It positions the impetus on National Interest. Both the neighbouring giants understand that war would be fatal but not final. Such anxious and foolish enmity will not serve the national interests and the national gains. The recent foundation of withdrawal in the Doklam is balanced. It certainly sends a message to the west that, war mongering can be in limits in this part of the world. There are worries still that China may create troubles in the sectors where it has a strategic advantage. But the attentiveness of the Armed Forces and the approach of the present government is calculative and on the mark. Theoretically and strategically a full blown war with China has been a dreadful affair but a subject of constant research. India is trying to bring more coordination between its theatrical commands for such an occurrence. We have to keep in mind that India does not claim Doklam for itself but was safeguarding it for Bhutan, which is a buffer against rival China to the north. This actually presents a gain for India in crucial times where South East Asia comprehends China as an aggressor. India must try to involve China in finely knit positive dis-engagement where there are additional rational aims for the improved relations. In this direction, we can have robust engagement but on more strategic terms.
Positive disengagements will utilize opportunities in favour of healthier and economically advantageous relations for India. It will be better for the timely communication of anxieties with China. China has seized rewarding opportunities as it invested in India, making vast gains for itself. The crucial part is that Chinese investment in India tilts towards the private sector or is primarily product based. The investment has to be turned towards the public front than the private. No doubt it is important for the economy but if we move towards a public sector, it presents a more confident representation of the relations. The data released by China’s Ministry of Commerce shows that the Chinese investment in India from Jan-Mar 2017 was to the tune of US$ 73 million. Cumulative Investment in India till March 2017 stood at US$ 4.91 billion. The Indian Investment in China till March 2017 reached US$705 million. China is a fantastic source of investment. The utility of such investments needs to be conveyed and standardized. National Economic Gains serve the national interest.
China has shown cautiousness as far as the state level decision making is concerned. There were some instances, such as a racial video to mock India and shoe boxes with the tricolour. This cannot be considered as the tool of psychological warfare. If this is so then China might have found a new low level, forgetting its civilizational maturity. Mr Modi visit to China at the BRICS summit will be an important parameter for Indian Strategists to pre-measure the relations. There should be a continuous reminder sent to China that we continue to aim towards the peaceful coexistence.
(The author is a student at South Asian university)