Border issue is the central issue based on which bilateral issues with China can be analyzed.
Initial steps by India
- The first non-socialist country to recognize communist China in 1949.
- Supported admission into U.N.
- China sent troops to Tibet, but India did not vote against China's aggression (17 Point agreement, TAR)
Nehru visualized India and China could be joint leaders of Asia. In 1954, a map was published with Aksai Chin and some parts of the North-East Frontier Area as part of China. To clear the air, Nehru visited signed Panchsheel in 1954 and even recognized Tibet. In return, he never asked for anything which is considered a diplomatic failure.
Events leading upto 1962
- Nehru's growing popularity in Africa was going against the idea of Mao's Violent Movements.
- Nikita Kruschev coming to power in Russia and getting closer to the U.S. This created a rift with Mao.
- CIA supporting people's movements in Tibet and India giving asylum to Dalai Lama and U.S.S.R declaring neutrality made Mao presume US – USSR – INDIA axis against China.
- After this, the East – West exchange formula was also dropped by Zhou and in Nov. 1961, Nehru encouraged military buildup in Aksai Chin but they lacked high altitude training.
- Boundary - around 2400 Km which runs from Kashmir in NW along the Himalayan ranges up to trijunction of India-Myanmar-China.
- Western Sector: China claims Aksai Chin. It is the NE extension of Ladakh. It is an uninhabited area of around 50,000 sqkm. It is a cold desert. Important for China from the point of Tibet.
- Middle Sector: It extends up to Spiti Valley and Shipki La pass. It lies in the Garhwal area. Satluj-Ganges forms a natural boundary. Dolkam is in this area.
Doklam (Plateau and Valley)
- Towards North – Chumbi valley (Tibet , China)
- Towards West – Sikkim
- Towards East – Ha valley (Bhutan)
Importance of Doklam to India:
Located 100Kms away from Siliguri Corridor, which is an entry point for insurgents in India.
The area is a conflicting one between China and Bhutan. Discussions over the conflict were initiated between the two in 1961 and in 1998 an agreement was reached that there shall be a 'standstill' until the issue is resolved. China violating this agreement encroaches the territory through the construction of roads. Bhutan asking for help, India extends it under Article 2 of the Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation 2007.
Reasons for Chinese Actions
- India not heeding China's advice and allowing Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh.
- India not joining OBOR and opposing it.
- Formation of Quad
- Increasing co-operation with the U.S. and Japan.
- India's initiatives against Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea.
- China follows Salami Slicing (a term coined by Hungarian Communist Matyaas Karosi) also called Cabbage Strategy, which believes in covert acquiring territories bit by bit, compounding it to a larger one. Once China does this in Doklam it began its Three War Strategy: Psychological War (Verbal threats, reminding 1962), Media war (using it for global support and Psychological war), and Legal war (building legal evidence)
India's response and reasons for winning the situation
- Psychological war handled deftly (1962 and present situations are different).
- Diplomacy like informal summit meetings used to diffuse the tension.
- Indian Army had geographical advantages as the Army could move swiftly and the Chinese could not.
- BRICS summit at Xiamen being in the offing China did not want to take chances as its international prestige could be damaged.
- Elections in China, Party was embroiled in domestic politics
Relationship after 1962
- Relationships deteriorated further by 1974 tests and Sikkim becoming part of India.
- In 1975 – Full diplomatic relationships established and A.B. Vajpayee visits in 1979.
Two Factors change relationship in 1980s until 1998
- Coming of Deng Xiaoping and removal of Mao's ideological baggage and focusing on commercial diplomacy.
- Rajiv Gandhi's initiative of dropping border issues as a conditionality.
- A Joint Working Group formed for the border, which is still working
- LAC Accord: 1992 signed when Narasimha Rao visited China. Agreement on Border, Peace, and Tranquility. An expert group under JWG formed to demarcate the border.
Confidence Building Measures: 1996 during Xiang Jemin's visit.
- Exchange LAC maps with each other.
- Minimum military alongside
- The ceiling of military exercises
- No-fly zone along the border
- No war pact
1998 - Tests became sour point.
Eminent Person's Group – To improve relationship formed under NDA
Special Representatives Mechanism in 2003
Atal visited China. SRM was aimed at negotiating border on a sector-by-sector basis and announce an agreement when all sectoral difference were resolved
- 2005 – Sikkim recognized as part of India
- 2008 – Manmohan's visit and a strategic and cooperative partnership signed.
Finally, BDCA – Border Defence Co-operation Agreement in 2013 under Manmohan which continues under the present government. Under it
- India-China Annual Defence Dialogue
- Regular Flag meeting
- Regular defense minister meeting
- Both follow restraint
- No use of military force
- No falling in areas where LAC not clear
- Information on military exchange
OBOR - One Belt One Road
It is and infrastructural project involving multimodal links, for which two funds have been constituted.
- Silk Road Fund
- AIIB (Collect details about it)
Regions to be connected: West Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia, Central, and Eastern Europe, Russia, and North Africa.
- The internal capacity utilization of infrastructure has reached its limit
- After the 2008 financial crisis investing in dollars (Treasury Bills) for China has become unfeasible due to instability
- OBOR was a project to be initiated later but the date was advanced due to
- The global financial crisis in 2008 has led to the weakening of Europe and the U.S, OBOR would help establish Chinese dominance by attracting these countries.
- Brexit would make the U.K. vulnerable and would make OBOR attractive to them. This opportune moment, led even traditional allies of the US like the UK, S Korea, New Zealand, and Australia to join OBOR.
Initiatives in Europe
- China joined EBRD
- EBRD becomes a member of AIIB
- Container train started for the U.K. from China
- Canal link construction in Central Europe (Danube – Ober – Ele) has also begun
Initiatives in West Asia
- The dual approach followed towards Iran. Sanctions at UN and vigorous co-operation bilaterally.
- Iran granted full membership in SCO
- Active policies in West Asian issues. Resolutions on Syria (allies of Iran) have been vetoed by China.
- Egypt is flooded with electronic goods.
- DF-21 missiles (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles) being supplied to Saudi Arabia.
Co-operation with Russia
- $40 billion gas deal with Russia
- S-400 missiles procured from Russia against THAAD missile countering its Asia Pivot Policy
- Defense and Energy trade is in local currencies against the hegemony of the U.S. dollar
- The weakest link of OBOR in SE Asia because of the South-China Sea Conflict
- Project Mausam
- Project Sagar
- Project Spice Route
- INSTC Corridor
- Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
- Japan invited to Andaman
- Act East Policy
- Increasing co-operation with Japan and the US
- India is part of Asia-pivot, a vision document on Asia-pacific where India is given a prominent role.
- India's various defense and naval bases
- Use Tibet and Taiwan cards
Overall Strategy to handle China
- Countering + Co-operation
- Countering already given under India's response to OBOR
- Co-operation in the following areas
- Asian leadership
- South-South co-operation – Environment, WTO reforms, AIIB, BRICS.
- Regional organizations – BRICS, SCO, RIC, AIIB
- The idea proposed in 2001 by Goldman Sachs
- 2009 – First summit, Yekaterinburg, Russia (BRIC)
- 2010 – South Africa becomes a member and becomes BRICS
- 6TH Summit – 2014 Fortaleza, Brazil à New Development Bank is proposed.
- 8th summit 2016, India hosted it in Goa
- I4C (Innovation, Integration, Institutional building, Implementation, and continuing with Consolidation) was initiated.
- BRICS trade fairs, cultural festivals conducted.
- NDB launched and K.V. Kamath (Indian) becomes Chairman. [Collect points about NDB]
Recent Summit in Johannesburg
- A lengthy document released.
- Partnership for New Industrial Revolution on Industrial Revolution 4.0 signed
- Proposal for credit rating agency for BRICS, but opposed.
- BRICS plus format continues which is initiated at Xiamen.
- Few paragraphs on Terrorism to satisfy India.
Recent Developments – BRICS News Academy and BRICS portal initiated.
SCO - Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- The idea proposed by China in 1996 to contain extremism in Xinjiang province (Uighur Muslims vs Hans Buddhists who are dominant in China). Uighur Muslims are in majority in Central Asia.
- Initiated as Shanghai Five with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, and China as members.
- 2001 – Uzbekistan as a member, name changed to SCO.
- 2002 – Formal launching of SCO with its aims as security, economic, and humanitarian cooperation. The document says that it is not against any country.
- 2005 – India gets observer status.
- 2011 – There is a proposal to convert Observer countries into full members. India applies.
- 2015 – Ufa Summit it is decided that India will be granted membership after long opposition by China.
- 2017 formally given full membership
- In a recent summit at Qingdao
- Extended support to sign UN Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism
- Appeal to Youth document signed to not fall for 3 evils: Terrorism, Extremism, and Separatism