South Asia and Beyond

‘India Should Look At Both Containing And Engaging China’

NEW DELHI: The months-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh has put relations between the two countries at a crossroad, says noted China watcher Major General Dipankar Banerjee (Retd). An unsettled border will continue to be a reason for friction; besides, there’s a fundamental contradiction in how each of them sees the world, he told StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale. “While India has traditionally held that the world is one family (vasudhaiva kutumbakam), China takes pride in considering itself the Middle Kingdom, thereby treating every other nation as subordinate; so it can never accept an equitable world order.” Joining in the conversation, military historian and Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd) said he would look at periods of peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as an ‘elaborate smokescreen’. Systematic encroachment into the so-called ‘five fingers’ concept put forth by late Mao Zedong is part of a larger Chinese game plan. He was of the view that the Chinese are most comfortable with “all measures short of war”. So what should India’s strategy be while dealing with China? India has to significantly build up its all-round capabilities to deter China, feels Gen. Banerjee. India needs to look at both containing and engaging China, said AVM Subramaniam. “By keeping us busy in the continental boundary, China is trying to see if it can impede us in the maritime domain.”

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