Enemy at border, ally in business: Uncertainly prevails in Sino-India relations 

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 27 July: The strategic trust between India and China has been ‘eroded’ since 2020, Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor(NSA) has said during a sideline meeting with the top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the BRICS NSAs gathering in South Africa.

“The situation along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in the Western Sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 has eroded strategic trust and the public and political basis of the relationship,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) quoted NSA Doval as saying on Monday.

On Tuesday, during the meeting of the NSAs of BRICS nations, Doval spoke about the need for BRICS’s collective efforts on listing terrorists and their proxies under the UN counter-terrorism sanctions regime, NDTV reported on Thursday.

“It is important that the decision-making of the United Nations Security Council sanctions committee is free from politicisation and double standards,” he added, without calling China by name.

Last month, China blocked a joint proposal by India and the US at the UN to designate Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Sajid Mir as a global terrorist. 

Moreover, the security issues in connection with food, water and energy were also discussed. Doval said “The politicization of water needs to be countered” calling for complete transparency and unhindered information sharing with respect to shared cross-border water resources. 

According to a report in the Times of India today, China’s continuation of a compartmentalisation approach to bilateral relations, keeping the border disputes burning while insisting on mutual respect and cooperation between the two Asian giants doesn’t concur with India’s point of view.

New Delhi’s recent rejection of Chinese Electric Vehicle giant BYD’s $1 billion investment plan for a car and battery manufacturing factory in India, highlights that the issue isn’t only about the border conflict. 

Recently, India’s minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated to the Financial Times that “We are open to doing business with any company anywhere as long as they are investing and conducting their business lawfully and are in compliance with the Indian laws,” adding that it includes Chinese. 

Indo-China relations began to deteriorate following the 2020 border clash in the Galwan Valley that killed at least 20 Indian troops and 4 Chinese. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would not normalize relations with Beijing until “peace and tranquillity” were restored along LAC.

The 4,056 Kilometers long border that stretches between the Asian giants remains tense with both sides upping their military strength and foothold in the area.

In the current scenario of major changes in geopolitics, it’s hard to gauge how Beijing and New Delhi would play and balance their complex relations. 

The two sides have agreed on the significance of their bilateral relationship not just to themselves, but also to the world.

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