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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

China Versus India; Border Dispute in Arunachal Pradesh

I have been blogging on Indian concerns over Chinese incursions along the Sino-Indian border but the matter came to a head when Indian PM Manmohan Singh made a visit to the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, a territory China also lays claim to, during state election campaigning.
The Telegraph has some background.

With the background of rising tension, both Chinese Premier and the Indian PM are due to meet October 23rd in Thailand at the Association of South East Nations Summit.

Set against this, Pakistan has been noted racheting up relations with China with President Zardari saying recently that he would like to visit China on a regular basis.

No presaging here, but the Sino-Pakistan partnership could strengthen the latter's position. There has been assistance rendered already across many fields by the stronger nation, and so in the Hindu a report states that Chinese development help in Pakistani Kashmir is strongly being objected to in Delhi.

What can Delhi actually do about this apart from protest?


Raymond Turney said...

If I were playing Delhi in a war game, I'd look at a couple of the following options:

Make friends with Vietnam, another country on China's border that has had problems with China in the past.

Buy some weapons from Europe. US weapons won't do because China can probably get the US to stop sending replacement parts if it wants to. Protesting diplomatically and whipping up a storm in its own press may be useful in mobilizing India, but it won't impress the Chinese. An extra mountain division or two, with more on the way, might.

Try to do something about the Naxalites. They've got a lot of land area, though relatively few troops. But if the Chinese start trainign them in Nepal and equipping them with AK's, machine guns, mortars, and handheld AT and AA missiles, things could get ugly. I suspect the Chinese are still Maoist enough to symathize with the Naxalites. Shipping them weapons to keep the Indians killing each other would definitely be a Sunzi like thing to do. So India needs to do something to convince the Chinese that this is not China's ace in disputes with India.

I'd start looking for a way to get Europe and Japan more involved in the development of India. The huge US debt to China gives the Chinese a fair amount of leverage over the US. So it would be a good idea if India's development was less dependent on the US.

This would be quite a lot for India's government to do, but it would be a start. I would also avoid incidents, like the PM's visit to AP, which are likely to irritate the Chinese. I'd especially avoid doing things likely to be seen as egging on Tibetan activists, since India supporting Tibet and the Chinese supporting the Naxalites is not a better situation for India than what is going on now.

The China-India situation needs to be watched carefully, since both countries are rising powers that are expecting other countries to show more respect to them. This is not likely to lead to stable and improving relations. Worst case it could lead to war. India needs to remember that it didn't win in 1962, and if it comes to war it might not win the next time, eitehr.


Rani Singh said...

thanks for your entertaining and thoughtful comment