India-China relationship post-Ladakh standoff: The way forward

India should follow a policy of three Cs as a mantra with its relations China – compete, cooperate and confront, said former Indian Army chief General Shankar Roychoudhury

Nov 12, 2020
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India should follow a policy of three Cs as a mantra with its relations China – compete, cooperate and confront, said former Indian Army chief General Shankar Roychoudhury.

General Roychoudhury was speaking at an international webinar on India-China relationship post-Ladakh stand-off, the way forward, organized by the Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regional Studies, a Kolkata-based think tank on September 29.

“…from here on we need to follow a policy of three Cs as a mantra in so far as China is concerned – compete, cooperate, and confront,"  he said. 

The other eminent panelists at the webinar included former Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Prof. S. Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Dr. Mohan Guruswamy, Chairman and Founder, Centre for Policy Alternatives. Dr. Samir Lalwani and Dr. Sun Yu joined from the Henry L. Stimson Centre in the US.

The panelists discussed the historical relations between the two countries and how in the modern day the relation is of mistrust, distrust, suspicion and animosity.

India and China are not friends but rivals. However, in the present-day discourse, India cannot call China enemy, but its actions, reactions, and responses should be shaped with rivalry in mind. To achieve this purpose, the panelists said China “will continue to support and collude with Pakistan. It will support insurgencies in the northeastern States.

“It will also create friction between India and its neighbours by following a policy of aggressive propaganda, misinformation, and funding development and infrastructure projects through BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), and by offering long term loans which are increasingly leading countries into a dangerous debt trap.”

So what should be India’s immediate responses and long-term policy of interaction with China? What is the way forward? The panelists opined that India needs to take a few steps, which include -

*Converting the LAC (Line of Actual Control) into a LOC (Line of Control) as done with Pakistan.

*Since China does not recognise the Union Territory of Ladakh,  in a tit-for-tat response India should recognise Taiwan and upgrade diplomatic relations to the Ambassador level. 

*India should also pass a resolution in both Houses of Parliament to revisit India’s acceptance of Tibet as Chinese territory as also review the various agreements of 1993, 1996, 2005, 2006, and 2013. 

*India must reduce dependence on China by sourcing from other supplier countries as well as by providing incentives for indigenous production.

All this can happen when India builds up its armed forces, fast track infrastructure development, and arrangements to facilitate quick mobilization when required, the panelists said.

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