The Chinese belligerence has been visible since the Communist party took control of the country in 1949. The totalitarian regime consolidated power by suppressing the voices of democratization in its country. Moreover, it adopted expansionist policies in its neighbourhood to keep an upper hand in the region. India as its most prominent neighbour with a democratic government has always remained at the ire of the communist regime. In 1962 Chinese aggression against India, it showed its true colour to the world. After India’s defeat in the war, it captured a vast Indian territory in Aksai Chin. Despite Indian efforts to settle the matter peacefully and get back the Aksai Chin peacefully the Indian efforts have been rebuffed by the communist regime which is adamant about keeping control of the illegally occupied territory which belongs to India. But is Aksai Chin a lost cause?
India reiterates its demand for getting Aksai Chin: In the past, many Indian leaders have called for getting the Aksai Chin back. In this regard, Home Minister, Amit Shah’s statement that India will take back Aksai Chin, which is under Chinese control demonstrates Indian resolve to get back the territory. But more than the rhetorics India needs to develop an aggressive posture to counter Chinese belligerence. Just in one instance, India has given a befitting reply to China when it seized the heights of the Kailash Range. Apart from it, the government has primarily approached the crisis diplomatically, forsaking tactical offensives.
Present situation: Since the face-off at the Galwan region, Indo-Sino ties have been at the lowest ebb. In fact, the Chinese media and official spokespersons have wrongly accused India of aggressively trespassing the Chinese territories. The Chinese ambitions are apparently visible. In 2020 Chinese President Xi Jinping exhorted his troops to be prepared to defend the nation. When the world looks at ways to abandon war as the means of political tool the Chinese ambitions are hurting the unity and prosperity in the region.
China has a border dispute with most of its neighbors and it has been hell-bent on changing the status quo from its borders with India to the Taiwan strait.
World response to Chinese aggression during the 1962 war: Even as China was unleashing a mindless war the world was watching with apathy. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was compelled to ask US President John F Kennedy for immediate American military aid which India never received. At that time Cuban Missile Crisis was brewing with much attention going to it while Chinese aggression was largely overlooked by the international community.
There were no attempts made to maintain the status quo. China ended the war on November 20 with Mao Zedong declaring a unilateral ceasefire and pulling his troops back to a position he had determined earlier.
In absence of any global support, India embarked on its journey to strengthen the armed forces including building a nuclear arsenal. In 1998 PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in a letter to US President Bill Clinton justified India’s decision to justify the acquisition of nuclear arms in view of the increased threat from China which is a nuclear power and had attacked India in 1962.
The threat from China had become so grave that former Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes called China- India’s enemy number one.
Lessons from the Past: Even as India tries to build partnerships with other major democratic countries through multilateral mechanisms such as the Quad, India must realize that its own strength will be the biggest asset if it wants to get back the Aksai Chin.
It has been our experience that the major powers maybe not directly involve themselves in event of any eventuality from China. The best they will do is to provide strategic support.
The Chinese government is trying to advance its national interests by illegally occupying territories of other nations. For China, it has become ‘might is the right’. Will India be able to break the delusion?