Where is it headed?

Representational Pic

China and Indian are two hugely populated South Asian countries, sharing a 4056 km long border crossing through Union territory of Ladakh, and states of Utrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. China disputes the demarcation altogether and claims an area of over one lakh sq kms falling on the Indian side. The dispute between the two countries occasionally witnesses escalation, and has a potential of flaring up anytime. It can even involve other countries.  China is an outright autocratic country ruled by the Communist Party, mainly comprising military personnel from all over. While India for all practical purposes is considered the largest democracy in the world.

Both the countries have emerged economically and militarily in a big way since 1962 when the two were up in arms against each other in Ladakh. China succeeded in taking away Aksa Chin from India having an area 640 Sq. kms without much resistance.

Once again, Ladakh has come to lime light as, according to reports, the Chinese troops not only crossed the line of actual control but claimed the whole Galwan Valley as their own territory. China opposed the construction of any permanent structures in it by India. This resulted in physical confrontation between the troops on either side of the Line. Around twenty Indian soldiers were killed mercilessly, and scores injured.

China over the years has emerged as a mighty power, and is competing with the US. India though trailing behind, but both have nuclear weapons. The chances of any such confrontation are far from remote right now. However, if a war were to break out between the two, it will have to be fought on the strength of conventional weaponry. On this front, China has clear edge over India. It spends double the amount of money India spends on its defence, and its GDP is five times more than that of India. Its business with India has risen to all time high of 62 billion US dollars. While in return, India does a business of only 18 billion US dollars with China. In fact, almost all the countries around the world are complaining of a growing trade deficit with China. As such in the eventuality of a war, India may have no recourse but to rely on others for help.

However, China is faced with its own set of problems on home front. Xinjiang, on the one hand, and Honk Kong, on the other. Apart from that Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea are wary of its hegemony in the region. There are scores of American bases in these countries which China is not happy about. India, on the other hand,  is seen by the US and other Western countries as a formidable strategic partner.

Therefore, despite its overwhelming military and economic edge over India, China cannot afford to take the possible confrontation with India for granted, or resolve this border dispute unilaterally.