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Analysing Sino-Indian standoff: View of an Academic

       Paper No. 6592      Dated 7-June-2020
Guest Column: By Prof. Sudhanshu Tripathi  of Prayag University:                      
China continued to stage a precariously tense situation against India till today by hugely amassing its soldiers and weapons over Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, thereby compelling New Delhi to follow suit in its own defence. It also reminds us of Chinese Betrayel in 1962. 
There have been twelve rounds of talks between the local commanders, three at the Major General level and one more at the Corps Commander level. There is no word of China’s willingness to withdraw from areas intruded into since April 14.
The two agreements to maintain peace in the LAC were signed in 1993 and 2013 reiterate two key objectives- Status Quo and Restraint which  China appears to have thrown to the winds. Why?
Such incursions by the Chinese army in the unsettled boundary zone with India are not unusual events but this time Beijing had intruded at multiple points into the Indian side, even in such areas like Galwan where, there had never been a dispute regarding actual alignment of the LAC between the two sides. Again, the present standoff between the two is also different from the earlier Doklam dispute in 2017.  While Doklam was restricted to one limited area, this time the Chinese have opened up several fronts.  
Although the ongoing Sino-Indian tussle apparently looks as “differing perceptions” over the LAC between the two,  the real Chinese intentions  appear to be aimed at disrupting India’s ongoing infrastructural development activities on the Indian side of the LAC, like building roads  airstrips etc., besides influencing larger geo-political landscape, characterized by the mounting Sino-US tensions. 
The LAC is very well known to both sides and it is of concern to India that China chooses its own time and place to rake up such issues due to other reasons.
In fact, by staging a long standoff over LAC, China hopes to make tactical gains when the latter is struggling to combat the Wuhan Virus unleashed by China to the whole World.  
As the United States appears to be determined to retaliate with China’s misadventures through all means available including trade, it looks that China’s response in India is because of its fear of India teaming up with US.
In a larger context, faced with universal hostility  Chinese President Xi Jinping has reacted by asserting its full preparedness to meet even “worst case scenarios”.  In fact, China has selectively hit those countries which have either raised question regarding origin of the Corona virus, as did Australia and New Zealand that  supported  investigation into China’s Wuhan Lab of Virology, or  to prevent countries like India, Vietnam and Philippines aligning themselves with the United States.
Among these, India is obviously the most potent threat to China due to its inherent moral-cultural power and significant scientific, technological and economic advancement.  The US is keen to include New Delhi into the global community of seven rich countries or G-7, along with Russia, Japan and South Korea due to its rising economic potential as well as trusted strategic partnership. China has been excluded. Again India is slated to a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. 
Today, while the whole world is passing through the mounting Corona menace, China,  instead, is working hard to expand its sphere-of-influence in Indian Ocean, PoK and South China Sea, besides trashing  Hong Kong’s autonomy under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ approach and also pressurizing Taiwan. 
Some political analysts are of the view that China is facing numerous internal challenges and popular unrest on several counts, like the second wave of Corona attack and economic recession. All these  pose serious threats to the regime of President Xi, who is perhaps trying to divert the popular attention from his own follies to focus on the thorny border issue with India besides others.
Indeed, China knows that India’s national power is far ahead today that it was in 1962, and it enjoys a distinct good image under PM Narendra Modi. 
India has to remain very cautious over the LAC to ensure its infrastructure-building activities  go unhindered. Hence the continuing Sino-Indian tensions may either result into local skirmishes between the soldiers or may worsen for some time till Beijing faces global isolation and mounting  pressure to come  clean from its dubious role in not sharing the emergence of Covid-19  with the world, while influencing the WHO to support Chinese stand.
Indeed, all these Chinese acts are aimed at establishing the unbridled global hegemony of China, that  still suffers from the “middle kingdom complex”.