India has been brought down to its knees by China over the India-China border row, but is this the collapse of New Delhi?
As Indian and Chinese troops remain locked in a heated India-China border row, India’s stubborn position could lead to an all-out war between the world’s two most populous nations. While tensions between New Delhi and Beijing show no signs of going away, the border dispute that flared up last month could become an existential catastrophe for India, if the conflict evolves into war.
The India-China border dispute began in June when Beijing ordered to construct a road in its disputed area with Bhutan, the Doklam Plateau in Tibet. Bhutan is a small kingdom run under the influence of India – its major ally – but its borders do not have any contact with India, which sent its troops into Bhutan to prevent the road’s construction. New Delhi views the road construction as Beijing asserting sovereignty and further expanding its hegemony in the region.
In what has become the worst stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops on the borderline in decades, there is no end to the conflict in sight. India refuses to withdraw its troops from the territory, while China says there will be no negotiations until after India troops have left the territory.
India Stubborn in the India-China Border Row: Will History Repeat Itself?
Although the two nations have engaged in the India-China borderline rows for many decades – and even fought the Sino-Indian war in 1962, which ended in India’s humiliating defeat – it is surprising to many that New Delhi is willing to risk another war with the world’s largest military over a border dispute in Bhutan.
After all, China’s annual defense spending dwarfs India’s, $216 billion to $56 billion. One can argue that New Delhi is in no position to dictate its own rules, but the Indian side continues stubbornly standing its ground.
Fears of an India-China war keep mounting, as Beijing has made it crystal clear that it will not sit at one table with the Indians if their troops do not leave the disputed territory. After all, Indian soldiers were the first ones to enter the Doklam Plateau illegally, which ignited the heated border row between the two nations in the first place. While New Delhi insists it was trying to stop China from asserting sovereignty on the disputed area, Beijing further tightened its grip on the area by sending more troops and is adamant to not give up.
If China’s position in the South China Sea is any indication, Beijing always goes the extra mile to get what it wants when it comes to protecting its national interests. The Chinese government has even reportedly moved a number of military gear to the border to be better equipped for any solution of the India-China border row, including a military one.
However, if the Chinese do resort to force, history may repeat itself. But India has so much more to lose in 2017 than it did in 1962.
China vs. India War on the Horizon, as Beijing will Protect its Interests At ‘Any Cost’
Despite China clearly having an edge in pretty much all fields of the military, India is reportedly stepping up military preparations on the borderline. While the Chinese and Indian soldiers have not fired a single bullet yet, the border row could escalate quickly, as it did in 1962. Interestingly, a road construction was one of the triggers that led to the devastating Sino-Indian war more than five decades ago.
Although New Delhi and Beijing have been reportedly communicating with each other through various diplomatic channels, the two nations still continue building up forces along the border. Earlier this week, Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times insisted that China would safeguard its security interests at “any cost” as its sovereignty was “indomitable” in the India-China border row.
If India and China resort to weapons to resolve the border dispute in Bhutan, it is fair to say that a war between the world’s two most populous countries – with over 2.6 billion people combined – would be the most devastating and catastrophic in history. If the two arch rivals use nuclear weapons, the consequences would be deadly for the whole world, not just Asia.
China’s nuclear arsenal accounts for more than 270 nuclear warheads, while New Delhi owns about 130 nuclear missiles, according to recent estimations by the Arms Control Association.
Pakistan Joining China Would Be a Catastrophe for India
At this point, China seems adamant to take any measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the India-China border row, which is the worst stand-off between the two countries in decades. A potential military confrontation between the two key Asian powers could pose not only a major threat to the stability and safety of South Asia, but also spill over and become a global catastrophe.
India seems stubborn in its position to not withdraw troops from the Doklam Plateau, as such a decision would paint the nation as weak and unable to stand its ground. Being viewed as weak is the last thing New Delhi wants at the time when there is a risk of losing territory claims on the northwestern border with Pakistan.
Pakistan, which has engaged in separate territorial disputes with India, and China are long-time allies and their diplomatic, economic and military cooperation has soared over the past years. If China taking up weapons against India would be enough trouble for the Indians, Pakistan joining its long-time ally would be a catastrophe for New Delhi.
Indian Muslims Could Bring the Fall of India
India, which could be on the verge of an internal crisis over the growing anger of Muslims in the Hinduism-majority country, is not willing to back off in the India-China border row. But if New Delhi does not withdraw its troops from the disputed area to lay out the groundwork for negotiations with China, the consequences could be tragic for the 1.324 billion-populated country.
Earlier this week, Indian Muslims woke up to the brutal realization that a Muslim genocide may be happening in India, where roughly 172 million people living in India identify themselves as adherents of Islam. A disturbing video showing about a dozen men barbarically lynching a Muslim man leaked on the Internet.
There is an ongoing debate about the identity of the victim. With Indian media and police claiming it was a gangster, who was killed by a rival gang, international journalists believe it was a Muslim bodybuilder, who was brutally killed in a gruesome religion-motivated assault.
Earlier this month, the Indian Express published a lengthy op-ed called “Inside the mind of the Indian Muslim,” where it said that the Indian Muslims are “cornered and demonized” and dealing with “a silent, undeclared psychological war that the State has unleashed on it.” The article detailed how Indian Muslims are living in constant fear in the nation, where lynching of Muslim people have reportedly been on the rise lately.
In addition to the volatile external crisis on the India-China border, New Delhi could also be dealing with an internal one. If those millions of Muslims living in India rise in revolt against the alleged Muslim genocide, it could become the fall of New Delhi.