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India China Border Stand Off
|by Col. Rahul K. Bhonsle|
De-escalate, Delineate and Set Norms
Come summer, local stand offs between Indian and Chinese troops on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have been common in the past. There was some hope of a change given ongoing rapprochement between the Indian and Chinese leadership. While Indian Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh had his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Le Keqiang is expected to be in New Delhi in May.
In a seminal visit to India in end of August 2012, former Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie sought to review joint exercises for which a military team from India is now in Beijing. A joint mechanism to resolve stand offs on the LAC is also in place headed by joint secretary level officers in the foreign ministries of both the countries.
That there is a contest for influence between India and China is an obvious inference as two rising powers test their resolve in a part of Asia that is in a political, security and economic flux. A look at the map from Afghanistan to Myanmar and Himalayas to the Indian Ocean would denote countries that are either struggling for peace and stability (Af Pak), in political flux (Nepal, Maldives), without elected governments (Nepal) or going through a major transformation (Myanmar). Bhutan is the only beacon and a true Shangri la. Such an environment is ripe for outside intervention particularly when India is seen as weak and diffident.
This contest is not restricted to India and China but the United States is also expanding its military footprint through strategic dialogues and joint exercises. A report in Minivan News a Maldives web site indicated that US has floated a proposal for establishing a base in the country with a draft Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) circulated to the government there. Thus the larger China US global contest also comes into play here.
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