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China, India and the Galwan Valley clashes: what can India do?

Publisher
Military operations Relations with China International relations China India
Description

Tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC, the common disputed border between China and India) in the Ladakh region (twenty Indian military personnel died in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan area, along the LAC) skyrocketed on 15 June. The incident came days after the army chief General M.M. Naravane stated that both sides were moving towards de-escalation.

The last deaths of Indian soldiers at the LAC were in 1975, while a violent clash at the Nathu La border area occurred in 1967. The recent border standoff, which has lasted for 40 days, is one of the longest recorded. In 2017, the Doklam standoff, which lasted for two months, began when China began to construct a road through Doklam Plateau, and Bhutan protested. India stepped in because that road could have provided China the ability to gather intelligence about Indian troops positioned around the area.

Key points:

  • The escalation of tensions between India and China, which have led to the deaths of 20 soldiers, is likely to dent the bilateral relationship significantly.
  • Statements from both sides indicate that tensions are not likely to die down easily, with both sticking to their stated positions.
  • Strengthening strategic ties with the US cannot cover up for the fact that India needs to make up a lot of ground in the strategic and economic spheres to reduce its inequalities in relation to China.
  • India needs to strengthen its economic ties with its neighbours in South Asia and countries elsewhere that seek to reduce their dependence on China.
  • India’s simplistic media narrative, which whips up ultra-nationalist sentiment, does not serve any useful purpose.
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