How should India respond to another surge in Chinese transgressions at several places along our Himalayan frontiers? Over the past 15 years or so, strategic analysts have recommended two diametrically opposite approaches.
The first, advocated by sober defence traditionalists and by hawks, is that we should hold the line along the Himalayas and escalate the conflict if we have to. They point out that Indian troops enjoy favourable positions in many places, and our strength has been bolstered over the past 10 years with more mountain forces and better infrastructure and equipment. The objective of this approach, they contend, is to make the Chinese realise that they can’t ‘win’ this game.
The second approach, generally favoured by diplomats, economists and many politicians, is that we should defuse the situation through talks and negotiations, because we cannot afford tensions and adversarial relations with China ‘at this time’.