As the border standoff between China and India drags on into the harsh winter, there has been no shortage of media reports about the predicament faced by the Indian side, such as insufficient funds and technology support for border troops amid the coronavirus crisis.
Although India was reported to have transported a large volume of military materials to the border, it’s still questionable whether the necessary winter protection can be secured for its border troops.
Following some Western media outlets’ hype about an arms race between the two Asian powers, some Indian scholars, media outlets and politicians have recently continued to play up the tough-on-China rhetoric.
Obviously, this hype runs in the opposite direction to efforts both sides made to cool border tensions. It won’t help border troops complete disengagement but will expand the contradiction between the two countries into a wider sphere and increase the complexity of the problem.
The dangerous trend has increased the risk and speculative nature of India’s foreign strategic decision-making, posing a potential threat to regional security and stability.
While it’s not hard to imagine the difficult situation of the border standoff at an altitude of 4,000 meters during the winter, with an economy only around 20 percent of China’s, the Indian side is obviously under more pressure.
Given severe economic shocks and high fiscal pressures, if India insists on choosing to confront China, it will bear greater fiscal pressure, especially as the economy has been severely hit by the pandemic, and it is using its limited wealth in the wrong places.
India needs to use every means possible to achieve economic recovery, and its foreign policy should aim at creating a stable environment for peaceful development.
On the contrary, continued confrontation or even an arms race will be clearly detrimental to both China and India, especially India. At present, India’s deficit remains high, unable to meet government goals, and the economy is still shrinking without any sign of a rebound.
New Delhi should realize that, in the long run, continued confrontation will inevitably cause the two countries to miss precious opportunities for common development and growth.
The author is an associate research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.