29 July, 2021

Beard The Lion To Bell The Cat

Learn from the Galwan lapses, don’t bury these for reasons of short-term political expediency

Beard The Lion To Bell The Cat

In June 2020, India was ‘surprised’ by China’s military actions across the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Lives were lost on both sides. The strained bilateral relationship took another beating and a tense military stand-off ensued. The tactical situation is ­unresolved and remains brittle a year later, and this is an opportune moment to review the chequered trajectory of Sino-Indian relations since the heady per­iod of the 1950s.

This was the decade when both Asian giants had thrown off the colonial yoke—India in 1947 and China in 1949—and the aspiration in Delhi was to forge pan-Asian solidarity. This was symbolised in the popular phrase, ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’, but it soon became evident that China under Chairman Mao had a very different vision of Asian consolidation and Beijing’s place in the emerging strategic framework. Clearly, Delhi with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the helm had not read the tea leaves as astutely. Very soon the October 1962 ­territorial dispute...

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