Original title: India, is it ready to bear the consequences?
A few days ago, the 13th round of military commander-level talks between the Chinese and Indian armed forces ended in an unhappy manner. The spokesperson of the Chinese Western Theater Command clearly pointed out that “India still adheres to unreasonable and unrealistic demands” and “I hope that the Indian side will not misjudge the situation.” This is the second time after the sixth round of military commander-level talks, China and India will issue statements of different calibers on the situation (the last time was the eleventh round), and it is also China’s demand for India to “still adhere to unreasonable and unrealistic demands.” “The criticism was the strongest.
From the recent new round of hype by Indian public opinion on the situation on the Sino-Indian border, to the repeated and sky-high prices in the negotiations by the Indian military and political departments, it shows that India has not really regarded the negotiations as a way to ease the situation and solve problems, but as a way to ease the situation and solve problems. A tool to show strength to China and maximize unreasonable demands.
So, what “misjudgments” does India have about the situation? What is the “heart demon” who is constantly showing strength and unwilling to compromise on the border issue?
One is the overestimation of the opportunities for fishermen to benefit from the strategic competition between China and the United States.
Since China’s defeat in the self-defense counterattack against India in 1962, the Indian strategic community has sought to rely on external forces to check and balance China, and the United States has always been the first choice for India to try to rely on.
However, in the context of the Cold War, the focus of the US global strategy was the Soviet Union, and its attitude towards India, which had a close relationship with the Soviet Union, was ambiguous; especially after the improvement of Sino-US relations in the 1970s, India’s value in the US’s China strategy declined. It also fell more to the Soviet Union.
After the end of the Cold War, India once sought to establish a good relationship with major forces including China and the United States, and was unwilling to choose sides too clearly. However, in recent years, as the United States has identified China as a strategic competitor, India believes that “the opportunity is here.” It can not only seek benefits by selling its own value to the United States to check and balance China, but also use the support of the United States to improve its ability to compete with China. ability.
This time India’s toughness on the border issue has nothing to do with the Indian leader’s visit to the United States at the end of September and participation in the US-Japan-India-Australia four-sided summit?
Second, it underestimated China’s determination, will and ability to safeguard national sovereignty.
Many people in the Indian strategic circles believe that India’s current international environment is more superior than that of China; China is under the strategic repression of the United States, while India is a long-sleeved dance in the international arena and major powers. Under this circumstance, India tends to think that no matter how it is tossing, China will not and cannot take it, because China needs to “hold and stabilize India.”
It is true that China hopes to develop stable and sound bilateral relations with India, but this does not mean that China will condone India’s gains, nor does it mean that China will make the slightest concession in the core interests of territorial sovereignty.
The third is that they have lost their interest in the border issue.
Although there is no official statement about India’s “unreasonable and unrealistic demands”, it can be found by combing through India’s official statements and public opinion reports that India stubbornly asks China to restore the so-called state before April 2020, which is tantamount to denying China’s status. Infrastructure construction on the territory of the country.
According to Indian logic, should China use the actual line of control on November 7, 1959 as the basis for negotiations? Is it necessary for India to abolish the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” (in our southern Tibet) and the establishment of the “Ladakh Central Territory” and “Kashmir Central Territory” as the prerequisite for the negotiation?
Obviously, India has not figured out its “boundary of interest” on the border issue, and is still engaged in the “cannibalization policy” and “forward policy” that have been proven wrong during the Nehru era.
The border issue is the biggest obstacle to the improvement of Sino-Indian relations. India’s obsession with showing its strength to China on the border issue will not only have a profound negative impact on the mutual understanding of the two peoples and hinder the overall development of bilateral relations, but will also cause harm to India’s own national security and development.
From the perspective of bottom-line thinking, if it is unable to get rid of the “heart demon” on the Sino-Indian border issue, India will find it difficult to realize its “great power dream”.
The most obvious price is that India has invested a large amount of resources on the Sino-Indian border that could be used to promote domestic development, resulting in unnecessary consumption of national resources.
After the conflict in the Kalwan Valley in 2020, India deployed a large number of military forces to the front line of the Sino-Indian border, and at the same time increased its arms procurement, which caused a huge consumption of financial, manpower, and material resources for India. The Indian economy has been in trouble due to the government’s willful reforms in the past few years and the impact of the new crown epidemic since 2020. However, the Indian government continues to increase the “unproductive” consumption of military deployments in border areas, which will undoubtedly further squeeze the economy and society. The available resources in the field have made India’s economic needs worse.
If one considers that India still needs to invest a large amount of military power in Pakistan, the unnecessary consumption of resources caused by India’s tough foreign policy will be even greater.
In addition, about 75% of India’s military expenditure goes to daily consumption such as military salaries, allowances, and weapon maintenance. The consumption of a large number of military resources on the Sino-Indian border will also squeeze its ability to modernize its weapons and equipment, and undermine its long-term military modernization process.
India should have coordinated security and development, but overly showing strength to China may make it impossible to win security or promote development.
The most strategic price was that India was tied up by the United States’ China strategy, but ultimately ended up being abandoned.
In recent years, Indian senior officials and strategic circles have continuously released signals of “using the United States to contain China” and “linking the United States to contain China”. They have also continuously strengthened their defense and security cooperation with the United States in policy practice.
This will lead to two serious consequences: First, India’s relations with China are at a deadlock, and India also handles its relations with neighboring countries from the perspective of confrontation with China, thereby substantially deteriorating India’s surrounding security environment;
The second is that India is betting excessively on the United States, but the US foreign policy has always been “America first.” India may become a “strategic abandoned son” due to the adjustment of US policy.
The most unwilling price to see is that India’s provocation against China triggers a fire-fighting and even a military conflict, which has a serious impact on India’s domestic politics and external environment.
China hopes to work with India to maintain peace and tranquility in the border area. However, from the violent attack on Chinese officers and soldiers by the Indian army in the conflict in the Kalwan Valley last year, and then the practice of the Indian army firing in the sky to deter Chinese officers and soldiers, India is changing its handling of China and India. The practice of border standoffs makes its actions in border areas more adventurous.
In the past few years, India conducted cross-border “surgical” military operations against Pakistan. This is in the same line as its hardline stance on the Sino-Indian border issue. It makes people worry about whether India will engage in “military adventurism.”
During the Nehru period, India misjudged China’s determination and will to safeguard its sovereignty and engaged in the so-called “forward policy”. As a result, it triggered China’s self-defense counterattack against India, and Nehru himself suffered a catastrophic impact on his political career.
Using history as a mirror, if India conducts acts in the border area that may lead to misjudgment, wiping off guns and even more serious incidents, is the Indian side ready to bear the consequences?
Writer/Lou Chunhao, the author is the deputy director of the South Asian Research Institute of China Institute of Modern International Relations