Irrespective of whether it is viable strategy or not, the Narendra Modi government gives the impression of wanting to get back to business as usual with China as early as possible. Some Chinese investment proposals stuck in the pipeline since the time last summer when India woke up to sour northern neighbour’s incursion into Indian territory have thus been cleared expeditiously.
These clearances appear to have been accorded no sooner than the disengagement of troops and military hardware were completed in the north and the south banks of Pangong Lake last Friday, and while the Chinese side is being difficult about vacating the strategically vital Depsang Plains where China’s military presence cuts us off from our airfield at Daulat Beg Oldie and access to the Karakoram pass.
When the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) moved into Indian territory there was much to-do about applying a squeeze on Chinese economic interests as a form of retaliation. Hundreds of Chinese apps doing brisk business in India were choked. The “Atmanirbhar Bharat” slogan was sought to be made routine from the highest levels of government. That phase appears to be behind us.
Perhaps the business end of things is trumping nationalism for the Modi government. It turns out that in 2020 China remained India’s biggest trading partner, and more was imported from China than from the US and the UAE — the second and the third biggest trading partners — put together.
It also became evident that at a time when India’s exports were suffering on account of Covid and other factors, its exports to China were in steady shape. Perhaps the Modi regime does not want this compromised. India also uses Chinese heavy equipment, electronics and household appliances in a big way. On the whole, the Indian economy seems as difficult to disengage from the Chinese as Chinese soldiers from eastern Ladakh. Perhaps this is a reason why officially India is yet to acknowledge that China intruded into Indian territories....