The India-China border standoff seems likely to endure, notwithstanding New Delhi’s efforts to defuse the crisis. China seems to have consolidated its position along the 4,056 kilometre-long Line of Actual Control and refuses to vacate Indian territory. During talks, Beijing insists the People’s Liberation Army is on Chinese territory and that Indian aggression is to blame for the current fracas.
While the Narendra Modi government continues to place faith in diplomacy as the way out of the current imbroglio, it would do to well to bear in mind Beijing’s tried and tested playbook: first, instigate a border conflict; then, display aggression and rattle sabres; finally, summon traditional and social media platforms to accuse the other country of belligerence.
After being caught unawares initially, India’s response has focused on gaining through negotiations what was lost on the ground. New Delhi continues to build its long-delayed military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), ensure the military has key spare parts and supplies, and use limited economic coercion.