In this third installment of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, Dr. Peter Harris and his assembled scholars tackle the issue of Sino-Indian border conflicts.
China and India’s rise over the last two decades has enabled them to wield increasing amounts of influence on the global stage. Even though they share several characteristics—including being the world’s most populous nations, the fastest-growing major economies, and developing status—their relationship has been fraught with skepticism and hostility since their war of 1962.
The Chinese concept of sovereignty is a tool of diplomacy and statecraft; a way of preserving China’s international image as an historical victim of foreign conquest even as it pursues its territorial disputes with growing confidence and power.
It is quite evident from the history of Pakistan’s relationship with China that Pakistan views Sino-Indian border disputes through a Chinese lens. This is not just because of Pakistani-Chinese friendship, of course, but also because of the rivalry and territorial disputes that have marred India-Pakistan relations since their independence.
The border dispute is one component of the Sino-Indian relationship. In recent years, unwanted skirmishes and clashes along the LAC have been highly politicized, exacerbating antagonistic domestic dynamics as well as furthering the perception of an international competition. To continue intensifying cooperation among China, India, and the rest of Asia, leaders would do well to remember that “divide and rule” remains a powerful strategy in world politics. Indian and Chinese leaders should each avoid falling into that trap.
The conflation of the China–India water dispute with larger territorial and political disputes exacerbates water as a source of conflict between them.
Dr. Harris introduces this issue of Indo-Pacific Perspectives, in which six scholars—some based in the region, the rest longtime analysts of Sino-Indian relations—put the recent border Sino-Indian border clashes in context.
The crisis that began at the disputed China–India border in early 2020 was not the first—and almost certainly will not be the last—standoff at the Line of Actual Control.
This article compares the roots and perspectives of civilizational thinking in three cases (China, Russia, and India) to chart the complex interplay between the rise of domestic “civilizational factions” among a state’s intelligentsia and non-Western elites and the subsequent effects of this thinking on each state’s behavior and strategic posture in the realm of its external affairs. Through rigorous cross-comparative examination and process-tracing along the defined parameters, this case study seeks to contribute to the nascent scholarly literature on the emerging civilization-state phenomena, offering some conclusions on how the emic repackaging of ancient historical epistemologies under hypermodern frameworks may go on to redefine plurilateral order throughout the dynamic twenty-first century and beyond.
This article demonstrates that India has the advantage in Ladakh over the air and land despite current deficiencies and even after considering the missile threat. However, India must make up its mind what it wants as a nation: Defend its territory, or retake Aksai Chin? If the latter, then without a doubt it must boldly face the Indian public and explain it needs to spend money on raising necessary military assets for the defense of Ladakh and the recapture of Aksai Chin. In this case, India must not worry about the money, or else India shall need to worry about its honor. Not only that: someone should also wield a whip to raise two new corps for Ladakh at a galloping pace—a mountain corps to hold existing positions and territory, in which India is deficient; and another to strike deep into Aksai Chin, and probably also Tibet and Xinjiang. Consequently, a new military command, which normally consists of three corps, is necessary to defend Ladakh and recapture Aksai Chin.
This article attempts to explain what makes India behave the way it does in its approach to the Indo-Pacific, a behavior that one Indian analyst prefers to call “evasive balancing.” The answer to such a behavior, this article contends, is found in the balance of power or, more specifically, in India’s considerable power asymmetry relative to the United States and China in addition to the decreasing power gap between the United States and China. India’s economic and military growth puts it below the United States and China in the hierarchy of differing capabilities, and China has been reducing its power gap with the United States.
This article reiterates the relevance of Clausewitz to India’s nuclear deterrence, which is supported by New Delhi’s “trinity of war” aggregates of constitutional democracy, economic strength, technological advancement, diplomatic engagement, military buildup, and nationalistic cultural ambitions. These aggregates impart substance and credibility to India’s nuclear doctrine and force posture, making India’s position more confident and reliable in comparison to Pakistan’s deterrent. This dynamic could undermine strategic stability in South Asia by incentivizing India to contemplate counterforce options against Pakistan.
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