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August 27, 2020

Indian expert believes China marginalised India in region

National

August 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: An Indian defense analyst believes that India’s military confrontation with China will have serious ramifications for it, and one of the obvious consequences is the increased strategic cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad.

Indian military and strategic expert, Pravin Sawhney, was speaking at a webinar hosted by the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on the conflict between Indian and Chinese troops on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh in May and June, according to a press release issued by the think tank on Wednesday. The most serious clash happened in June in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, which was the first fatalities in a military conflict between the two countries in nearly 45 years.

Sawhney said that the event had a cascading effect for India, which is now facing problems in its external relations with all its neighbours. He noted that India had been marginalized by China in its neighbourhood owing to “lack of principled engagement with its neighbourhood.” He noted that one of the outcomes of the event would be the speeding up of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. He feared that this could have serious repercussions for India.

The Indian expert urged his country’s leadership to engage China in a principled manner to move beyond the incident.

CISS Executive Director Ali Sarwar Naqvi said, the China-India dispute is rooted in divergence of the perspectives of the two countries on the border separating them. He observed that the escalation of their long-running dispute to the latest clash could have been influenced by strategic developments like the burgeoning US-India partnership, the Quad, and rivalry in the Indian Ocean Region.

Former Defense Secretary Lieutenant General (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi opined that the Modi government’s August 5 move could be the real trigger behind the latest face-off although road development by India in Ladakh and other infrastructure construction projects set things in motion earlier this summer. He expects that China would not back off from its claimed high areas. Strategically, he said, it provides a sort of relief to Pakistan as it will be difficult for India to make ingress into Kargil and Siachen areas in this situation. Pakistan, he further said, will be in a good position to respond to any Indian attack in Azad Kashmir.

International law expert, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, said, a crisis was always inevitable because of the unsettled status of the India-China border despite their agreements in 1993, 1996, and 2013. He proposed approaching a forum like the International Court of Justice or Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for adjudication.

Chinese expert, Dr. Fazal Rahman, was of the view that India made a huge miscalculation by thinking that US pressure, and its newfound importance for Washington as a strategic partner, would help its actions go unchallenged by China. But contrary to Indian assessment, Chinese troops thwarted its move.