Defence

New Delhi and Canberra should join forces against Beijing’s aims

Indian and Chinese troops have remained locked in a tense standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since early May, following Chinese intrusions at multiple locations in Ladakh. The violent military clashes at Galwan Valley and the ongoing military stand-off is reshaping India’s China policy decisively, as Beijing’s intransigence serves to highlight President Xi Jinping’s determination to downsize India’s physical territory, material power, economic growth, regional influence and diplomatic clout in international politics. India’s policy is also gaining traction gradually, with restrictions on Chinese investment and technology, heightened Indian military presence in the Himalayan region, and trade incentives to reduce reliance on China in strategic sectors, even as the need for closer cooperation with the US, Japan and Australia is becoming self evident.

Despite many rounds of almost fruitless discussions between their field commanders, China’s continued refusal to accept the status quo ante along the disputed boundary in the Himalayas is an unmistakable sign of its perception of India as an adversary. Australia’s growing negative perception of China also emanates from Beijing’s aggressiveness towards Canberra. This has made China central to India-Australia relations, though this bilateral relationship has grown in a multidimensional manner over the past decade.

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