India’s ‘Peaceful Coexistence’ With China ‘Long Gone:’ Expert
Washington and New Delhi are deepening their relationship as both countries face growing threats posed by an increasingly assertive Beijing. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on July 28 to discuss “Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, [and] shared democratic values.” While the officials did not explicitly identify Beijing, the Chinese regime loomed large as the two sides emphasized a commitment to work together on issues from defense to COVID-19 vaccine distribution. “I welcome President Biden’s strong commitment to strengthen the India-U.S. Strategic Partnership, which is anchored in our shared democratic values and is a force for global good,” Modi wrote in a tweet following his meeting with Blinken. Amrita Jash, research fellow at Indian think tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and author of “The Concept of Active Defence in China’s Military Strategy,” said that solidarity against intensifying threats from authoritarian China is a “cause which binds” the United States, India, and other countries in the region and beyond. Following the deadly Galwan Valley border clash between the Indian and Chinese armies in 2020, “peaceful coexistence [between India and China] is long gone,” she told The Epoch Times in an interview. Testing India’s Resolve India and China share a disputed border of more than 2,100 miles known as the “Line of Actual Control” (LAC), and China “consistently tries to test India’s resolve and attempts to provoke” at the LAC, Jash said. India and China fought a month-long border war in 1962, and while tension has remained along the LAC since then, it has notably increased in the last several years. A standoff between India and China occurred in 2017 at Doklam—near the intersection of the disputed borders of India, China, and Bhutan—and a deadly skirmish was fought with clubs and other “Stone Age” weapons in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley, along India’s eastern Ladakh region border with China. The 2017 Doklam standoff began when China attempted to change the status quo near the LAC by extending an existing road in disputed territory also claimed by India’s neighbor and ally, the Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked nation in the Himalayas with a population of less than one million. Indian troops intervened on Bhutan’s behalf to stop extension of the road, and after facing off for more than a month, Indian and Chinese troops withdrew to previous positions. “India stood tall,” in the Doklam standoff, Jash said. In June 2020, India-China relations reached a new low when a vicious clash broke out near the LAC in the Galwan Valley, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers. India and China had formally agreed that soldiers from both sides are not allowed to use firearms in standoffs along the LAC. But during the 2020 skirmish, Chinese soldiers utilized “Stone Age” weapons that they had prepared, including metal batons wrapped in barbed wire and clubs embedded with nails. “It’s very evident that China is the instigator,” Jash said, adding that the Chinese regime’s use of weapons “has broken all protocols” between India and China along the LAC. In her book, Jash writes, “China’s behavioral pattern along the India-China border … complies with its ‘salami-slicing’ strategy as witnessed in the case of [the] South China Sea, wherein it encroaches and takes control of disputed areas … China’s repeated acts of transgression can be attributed to its ‘bit-by-bit’ policy of securing its claims, a way to increasingly test India’s resolve.” India, however, is standing firm against China’s tests and incursions, Jash said. “The way China’s trying to continuously change the status quo is something that is disturbing,” she said. “Given the current situation … no one is going to give an inch of land.” ‘What Does China Have to Give?’ Jash said that while authoritarian China attempts to project strength along the India-China border, it is faced with major internal and external problems that fundamentally threaten the one-party rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). “China is troubled in every quarter,” she said. “[In the] South China Sea, East China Sea, [along the] India-China border.” Internal problems include slowing economic growth and widespread resistance to CCP rule in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong, Jash noted. Meanwhile, external problems include comprehensive economic and military tensions with liberal democracies around the world, including the United States, India, Japan, and Taiwan, as well as with countries that have fallen prey to ruinous debt through participation in Beijing’s massive infrastructure investment project, the Belt and Road Initiative. “[China’s] economic growth has slowed down. Its idea of the China model has failed, and the Belt and Road has led to greater debt traps,” J
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