Fifteen months after the clashes between Chinese and Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley, India-China relations are at their lowest ebb in living memory. To be sure, there have always been political tensions even before, both over each country’s territorial claims over land controlled
by the other, and over such longterm problems as China’s “allweather” alliance with our hostile separated sibling, Pakistan, and
our hospitality to the Dalai Lama, who was granted refuge when he fled Tibet in 1959. But neither country had allowed these tensions to overwhelm them: China had declared that the border dispute could be left to “future generations” to resolve, and India had endorsed the “One China” policy, refusing to support Tibetan
secessionism while limiting official reverence for the Dalai Lama to his status as a spiritual leader.
The line is no provocation India has usually shown no desire to rock the boat. Its actions and statements have usually been designed not to provoke our northern neighbour, but to relegate the border problem to the back burner while enabling trade relations with China (now worth close to $100 billion) to flourish. India made it clear that it was unwilling to join in any United Statesled “containment” of China; its traditional obsession with preserving its “strategic autonomy” after two centuries of colonial rule made it wary of the blandishments of the West.
Ironically, before Galwan, 2020 was supposed to be a landmark year for the two countries’ bilateral relations. In October 2019 in Mahabalipuram, at their 18th meeting in nine years, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had grandly pledged to take relations between their two countries to “greater heights”. To mark the 70th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, they announced they would conduct 70 joint activities, including further improving their burgeoning trade, supporting scholarly research into their ancient civilizational links, and even exchanging military delegations, in a grand show of SinoIndian cooperation.
saving score / loading statistics ...