Q. “In the wake of recent Galwan Valley incidents, India needs a comprehensive strategy to solve the border issues with the neighbouring country". Discuss. (250 words)28 Jul, 2020 GS Paper 2 International Relations
- Introduce by briefly highlighting the recent developments in Galwan Valley.
- Discuss in short the reasons that resulted in the Galwan Valley Clash.
- Suggest comprehensive steps to be taken to deal with this problem.
- Conclude suitably.
- Recent border clash between India and China at Galwan valley claimed the lives of many Indian as well as Chinese soldiers.
- The incident represents a watershed in India’s relations with China and marks the end of a 45-year chapter which saw no armed confrontation involving loss of lives on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- Also, Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.
Causes of the Galwan Valley Clash
- The recent violent clash is the result of the Chinese side’s departure from the consensus to respect the LAC and attempted to unilaterally change the status quo.
- It is their way of attaining a political goal with military might while gaining more territory in the process.
- The stand-off has escalated more due to the infrastructure projects that India has undertaken in recent years.
- India is building a strategic road through the Galwan Valley - close to China - connecting the region to an airstrip.
- China is opposed to any Indian construction in the area.
- The Line of Actual Control (LAC), is not demarcated, and China and India have differing ideas of where it should be located, leading to regular border “transgressions” and sometimes lead to such clashes.
- Both countries’ troops have patrolled this region for decades, as the contested 2,200-mile border is a long-standing subject of competing claims and tensions, including a brief war in 1962.
Comprehensive Steps to Deal With the Problem
- Devolution of comprehensive China strategy: Strong political direction, mature deliberation and coherence are keys to handling the situation.
- The Army can make tactical adjustments and manoeuvres to deter the Chinese.
- Further, a comprehensive China strategy should be devised by the government of India in collaboration with the ground level acting forces.
- Strategic communication: The responsibility of effective strategic communication rests with political leadership and diplomatic set up. The Special Representative (SR) mechanism can be best used to establish the proper communication links.
- Clarification on LAC: India should take the initiative to insist on a timely and early clarification of the LAC. Pockets of difference of alignment as perceived by each side have to be clearly identified and these areas demilitarised by both sides through joint agreement pending a settlement of the boundary.
- Diplomatic channels must continue to be open and should not be fettered in any way because their smooth operability is vital in the current situation.
- Counterbalancing China in other areas: India’s leverage and balancing power within the Indo-Pacific and the world beyond stems from its strong democratic credentials, the dynamism of its economy, its leading role in multilateral institutions.
- The strategic advantage of its maritime geography is an asset which must be deployed much more effectively to counterbalance the Chinese ingress into this oceanic space that surrounds us.
- Reconsider RCEP engagement: India can also reconsider its stand on joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
- If India is to disengage from economic involvement with China and build the capacities and capabilities in manufacturing and in supply chains, it cannot be a prisoner of the short term.
- Trade between two countries can have the potential to remove the military tensions.
- The events in Galwan Valley should be a wake-up call to India and its neighbouring countries (esp Bhutan) so as to devise a method to deal with Chinese aggressiveness.
- Such clashes provides an opportunity for India to align its interests much more strongly and unequivocally with the U.S. as a principal strategic partner and infuse more energy into its relations with Japan, Australia, and the ASEAN.
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