China

A PRAGMATIC DECISION BY INDIA AND CHINA

30 Aug 17

There is no denying that a respectable exit by both India and China in the two month long Doklam standoff will pay off higher dividends to both countries in the long run. Pragmatically resolving such a sensitive issue keeping the collective Asian interest in mind by maintaining peace and tranquility will undoubtedly safeguard national interests of both and could provide deeper space for their already boosted economic trajectories.

Then what could China’s strategy behind Doklam be?

It appears that the real intention was primarily to curb India’s fanning out.  India’s reluctance in joining OBOR, decision to invite Dalai Lama (perceiving it to be infringement of Panchseel), Taiwan Parliamentary Delegation (contrast with One China Policy), and recent India-US Malabar exercise were making China uneasy.

However, India’s deliberate stand on Doklam kept the Chinese guessing, at the same time media propaganda kept building the pressure on both sides. For China, a respectful exit was the need of the hour, keeping in mind the following factors:

  • China’s notion of”Peaceful rise” could have suffered damage and earned the tag of an aggressor.

  • China’s diplomatic credibility would be hampered in international forums.

  • The conflict would bring US, India and Japan closer.

  • China’s BRI could have derailed as nations would start suspecting China.

  • Any dispute would sabotage its OBOR ambitious project.

  • India would increase deterrence measures against China creating security dilemma. eg Malabar ex, CTBT entry etc.

  • Economic and investment sentiment would suffer hampering growth via FDIs etc.

  • This along with other major glitches like CPEC, NPT, Masood designation, Uighur visa, Dalai asylum, renaming of Arunachal districts, vetoing UNSC would further derail the restrengthening of ties in the SAARC region.

Overall China lost nothing neither did it gain anything out of Doklam. However, it tried to make its presence felt, which did ring a bell. Same time, the Indian side’s strong stand on the issue saying “it should be prepared to beat back more such strife’s” would help China in timely reviewing its approach towards India.

Did it serve any good to India? Yes.

  • India’s measured replies reflected it as a “peace loving nation” globally.

  • The present Chinese approach of bulldozing its way has left it with more enemies than friends, who are compelled to silence due to Chinese might. Hence, India supporting Bhutan in countering China’s bullying actions was justified. Strong nations supporting their smaller and weaker friends would send a message to the neighboring countries that in India they have an “all weather friend.”

  • The outcome has definitely accentuated military morale in the international arena. Also, Indian Military out-maneuvered Chinese Military.

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