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India-China Border Clash: India Has 2 Options – Accept Losses or Counter China: US Experts

This has forced India to join the rest of Asia in figuring out how to deal with the newest turn in China’s salami-slicing tactics, which now distinctively mark its trajectory as a rising power.

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Chinese drive to annex the border regions claimed by India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) through audacious operations has only provoked India to either lump its losses or escalate the tension through force if the ongoing military-level talks between the two neighbours yield meagre results, a Washington-based think tank has said.

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“The current Sino-Indian border crisis has revealed that China has little respect for India’s long-standing efforts to freeze the status quo along the two countries’ disputed frontiers or for New Delhi’s cautious efforts to avoid the appearance of balancing against Beijing,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in its report.

“Rather, treating India’s internal actions regarding Jammu and Kashmir as a provocation, it has chosen to expand its control over new parts of the Himalayan borderlands through brazen actions that confront India with the difficult choice of either lumping its losses or escalating through force if the negotiations presently underway yield meagre returns,” it said.

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According to the report by the think tank, by so doing, it has forced India to join the rest of Asia in figuring out how to deal with the newest turn in China’s salami-slicing tactics, which now distinctively mark its trajectory as a rising power.

The disputed territories along the Indo-China border did not hold a continual Chinese presence until in January 2020 when Beijing started making a motorable road in Pangong Tso, and in the Galwan Valley, where it is reportedly building bunkers and barracks.

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Even if China withdraws as a result of successful Indian negotiations, the new infrastructure it has created would likely survive as a ready asset to be utilized in some future contingency, the think tank said.

The Chinese military now appears to have occupied some 40-60 square kilometres of territory claimed by New Delhi in these areas, as per reports cited by the think tank.

The current crisis unfolding along the LAC appears on one level to be a continuation of the trends witnessed in foregoing years.

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But this time, there is one important difference: unlike the discrete and geographically localized confrontations of the past, the latest encounters are occurring at multiple locations along the LAC in Ladakh in the eastern section of Jammu and Kashmir, which suggests a high degree of Chinese premeditation and approval for its military’s activities from the very top.

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Also, the current Chinese efforts to suddenly seek physical control over new locations in the Himalayas have been widely attributed to the general increase in Beijing’s friskiness in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the think tank noted.

According to this reading, signs of new Chinese aggressiveness along the Sino-Indian border is all of a piece with the new security law Beijing has enacted to control Hong Kong, the enunciation of new administrative structures in the South China Sea, and the new language on Taiwanese reunification used during the May 2020 National People’s Congress plenary session in Beijing.

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“In other words, China is pushing back on all fronts to signal resolution when there is widespread international dismay about its contribution toward the spread of the pandemic. There is a danger, however, in conflating coincidence with causality where the current Sino-Indian crisis is concerned: China’s aggressiveness in the high Himalayas is qualitatively different from the other developments exemplifying increased Chinese assertiveness,” the report said.

China’s territorial disputes with India in Ladakh date back to the modern founding of the two countries. And Beijing’s claim lines have shifted west on at least two occasions, each involving demands for additional territory amounting to many thousands of square kilometres.

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From the early 1990s until as recently as the 2018 summit in Wuhan between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a series of agreements and understandings have been negotiated. These measures were intended to prevent violent conflict at the LAC in order to give political authorities on both sides a chance to resolve the border dispute through negotiations, which would, in turn, permit the delineation of a single common boundary between the two rivals.

Citing a very similar occasion, the Indian and Chinese military commanders are once again across the table to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements as well as keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations, as per the Ministry of External Affairs.

In recent weeks, India and China have maintained communication through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation in areas along the India-China border, it said.

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As the commanders level talks did not result in any immediate change in ground positions on Saturday, India and China have decided to continue to hold discussions at both military and diplomatic level to address the present dispute on LAC in the Eastern Ladakh sector.

But the think tank alerted at the same time that India now has to desperately try to catch up building permanent settlements along the border lands and build up its own infrastructure commensurately, upgrade road as well as air networks along the Himalayan borders in order to thwart Chinese efforts to freeze its current superiority indefinitely.

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By occupying new segments of Indian Territory, the think tank warned Beijing that “aims to change the facts on the ground either to enhance its bargaining leverage in future negotiations, to simply annex spaces it covets for political or military reasons, or to compel India to abort the ongoing infrastructure modernization that could advantage it in any future conflict”.

Asian News International. Via HT FEEDS

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China Imposes Sanctions On US Defence Giant Behind F-16s, F-22 Raptors

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China has threatened to impose sanctions on US defence giant Lockheed Martin – the makers of Stealth F-22 Raptors, in response to US approving of a possible deal for Taiwan to buy parts to refurbish defensive missiles built by the company.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made announced at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, adding that the US should cut defence ties with Taiwan “so that it doesn’t do further harm to bilateral relations and damage peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

“China firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan,” Zhao said, adding: “China decides to take measures to protect national interests. We will impose sanctions on the main contractor of this arms sale Lockheed Martin.”

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The US State Department last week approved a possible $620 million foreign military deal for Taiwan to buy parts of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles so that they can last 30 years.

Beijing’s actions come amid growing tensions between the US and China tensions over various issues including trade war, South China Sea dispute, COVID-19 pandemic, new security law in Hong Kong, 5G network and hostilities against key US allies including India and Australia.

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Despite it being a strategic American ally, the US has no official embassy in Taiwan nor does Australia, Canada, the UK or Germany. China calls Taiwan a ‘renegade province’ and has vowed it to merge it with mainland China, at all costs.

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Asia Pacific

India-China Economic Romance Cannot End With A Mere Border Clash – Chinese Experts

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India and China have been at each other’s throat for more than a month now. Aside from the military confrontation in Ladakh, India has also moved to disengage from China economically.

While the move has got the support from the majority of Indians, Cui Hui’ao of the China Global Television Network (CGTN) writes that disengaging from China might not be a choice for India and that economic de-coupling is driven politically by Narendra Modi.

As reported by Eurasian Times consistently during last month, the feud between India and China has been a rollercoaster ride. From military buildup, deadly clashes to de-escalation and eventual withdrawal, the clash of the two Asiatic giants has seen it all.

Cui writes that apart from the military confrontation, India has retaliated in the economic sphere, referring to the decision by the Indian government to ban 59 Chinese application including TikTok, WeChat and ShareIt and the call to boycott Chinese products.

The journalist at CGTN writes that decoupling from China may be easier said than done for India. He says that India is not a manufacturing powerhouse, so in terms of bilateral trade, it actually buys much more from China than the other way around.

Cui analyses trade data to support the fact that New Delhi will find it difficult to reduce its dependence on Chinese imports. Between April 2019 and March 2020, India imported over 65 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods from China.

Cui is of the opinion that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Indian economy hard and in fact, the disengagement is driven by politics rather than economics. He finds it difficult to accept that India’s disengagement from China would take place at a time when the Indian economy is projected to contract by 4.5% according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Economic Disengagement Driven Politically 

Speaking to Cui, Cheng Xizhong, a visiting professor from Southwest University of Political Science and Law, says that the decision to de-couple from China economically is because of the domestic pressure on Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

‘’Since his second term began yet Indian economy is a mess. He has to find a way to shift the public attention elsewhere,” he said.

The author agrees with the point made by Cheng Xizhong and writes that pressure on the Indian PM Modi comes from multiple fronts, including his own supporters, businesses, and farmers union. But this time, the nationalistic voice is even louder.

Other experts interviewed by Chui agree that New Delhi would benefit more if it partnered with Beijing. Professor Cheng, a former Chinese military diplomat in South Asia, said that since India started its opening-up in the 1990s, its economic growth has been crippled by lack of high-quality infrastructure and it would wiser if India and China work together.

Similar views are shared by Indian economist Biswajit Dhar, who says that India’s decision to start producing domestically has to be strategic and it cannot take the decision to produce everything.”

While India and China disengage at the battlefront in Ladakh, the Indian government is looking for solutions to reduce its dependency on Chinese imports. PM Modi has encouraged all Indians to become self-reliant (Aatmanirbhar) by producing and purchasing indigenous goods and boost the Indian economy.

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US-China ties to worsen as Trump set to block all Chinese claims in South China Sea

Ties between US and China could dramatically worsen over the South China Sea after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognised waters to be illegitimate. 

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Ties between the US and China are set to further deteriorate over the South China Sea as the Trump administration is set to outrightly reject almost all of Chinese maritime claims in the contentious waterbody.

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The Trump government presented the decision as an endeavour to restrain China’s increasing belligerence in the region with a commitment to recognising international law. This move in the South China Sea will further enrage the Chinese, who are already countering against various US sanctions and other penalties.

Previously, US policy had been to insist that maritime spats between China and its smaller neighbours be settled peacefully through UN-backed arbitration.

But in a statement released on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognised waters to be illegitimate.

“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” Pompeo said. “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.”

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Although the US will continue to remain impartial in territorial conflicts, the announcement means Washington is now directly supporting Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, all of which oppose Chinese declarations of sovereignty over maritime areas surrounding disputed islands, reefs and shoals.

“There are clear cases where [China] is claiming sovereignty over areas that no country can lawfully claim,” the State Department said in a fact sheet that accompanied the statement.

The announcement was released a day after the fourth anniversary of a binding decision by an arbitration panel in favour of the Philippines that discarded Chinese maritime claims around the Spratly Islands and neighbouring reefs and shoals.

China has declined to recognise that ruling, rejected it as a “sham” and withdrew from the arbitration proceedings. It has continued to oppose the decision with aggressive actions that have brought it into territorial disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in recent years.

However, as a result, the administration said China has no valid maritime claims to the fish- and potentially energy-rich Scarborough Reef, Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal. The US has repeatedly said areas regarded to be part of the Philippines are covered by a US-Philippines mutual defence treaty in the event of an attack on them.

In addition to reemphasising support for that decision, Pompeo said China cannot legitimately claim the James Shoal near Malaysia, waters surrounding the Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, the Luconia Shoals near Brunei and Natuna Besar off Indonesia. As such, Washington said it would regard any Chinese intimidation of fishing vessels or oil exploration in those areas as unlawful.

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