Friends to enemies: The china challenge.

"India bans TikTok"
"India banned 43 of the apps including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's e-commerce app Aliexpress, in a new wave of web sanctions targeting China after the neighbors' months-long standoff on their Himalayan border."

These were the headlines in almost every news paper few months back, India and china never had a super friendly relation back then too but its never been this worse either.

So what exactly happened between India and china?

Here are few insights about it,

India has always been wary of China's growing ambitions but the relationship between the countries began experiencing a downward spiral since the clashes in the Galwan Valley last year that claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.

Before the Galwan Valley clashes, China had been one of India's top trading partners. While China's telecommunications companies were among those who had installed 3G and 4G systems in India, Huawei was also on the road to install 5G systems.

However, the future plans of Chinese telecommunications companies crashed following the attack on Indian soldiers by China. India banned dozens of Chinese apps including TikTok citing security concerns.

According to VK Cherian, a telecommunications consultant in New Delhi:

"The fear is that they have source code of these technologies and they can manipulate it to their advantage in a critical situation. Or they can literally shut off some networks, critical networks".

According to The World, even before border tensions ramped up, Indian strategists had become increasingly wary of China's regional and global ambitions -- with a Chinese presence now firmly entrenched in deep-water ports to India's east in Myanmar, to its south in Sri Lanka, and to its west in Pakistan.

India has resisted joining groups that are dominated by China such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement and China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

One of the reasons for India not joining the BRI is that this project aims to solidify China's power in the new network of global trade and power.

The other reason is that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

According to Dhruv Katoch, a retired major-general in the Indian army who spent much of his career defending Indian sovereignty in Kashmir:

"So far as India is concerned, there is no way we can ever support the CPEC. It passes through our sovereign territory, India must always be on alert about China's BRI activities in Pakistan, including the construction of dams, a railway and a road that will run from China, through Kashmir, diagonally southwest across the country, to Pakistan's strategically-located port of Gwadar. To protect that road, a very large number of Pakistani military troops are employed. But what is not known is that a very large number of Chinese soldiers are also employed. These soldiers are not in uniform, but they are part of the security apparatus of the Chinese state. And I think it gives China and Pakistan a nexus to join hands from this particular area should any hostilities take place between India and China," he added. (Source: ANI )

Budget 2021-22 could see an increased allocation for defense, given the need to factor in the threat from China. The agreements which India thought were enough to stabilize the border with China while it focused on growing the economy have not worked.

China's defense budget continues to grow for the fifth consecutive year. The 2020 China's defense budget increased defense budget to $179 billion, nearly three times that of India.

Chinese attempts to marginalize India on the global stage have not worked, and New Delhi’s cache has only increased. And so China has opted for the blunt instrumentality of force, hoping that it would teach India a lesson. The reality is that Chinese actions have ended up producing exactly the opposite effect. Indian public opinion, which was already negative on China, has now become even more strongly anti-Chinese. Those in India who have been talking about maintaining an equidistance from China and the United States today find it hard to sustain that position.

New Delhi has become freer to make policy choices, both strategic and economic, that are anti-China. From reducing trade dependence on China in key strategic sectors and walling off critical sectors from Chinese entry to galvanizing global support for the Indo-Pacific, India’s response has been across domains.

None of these options is cost-free for India. But China’s actions have ensured that today India is ready to bear those costs. India’s military and diplomatic responses to Chinese aggression have made it clear that New Delhi is neither without options nor is it reticent in choosing them. It is now for China to make up its mind about whether it wants a permanent foe in India or a neighboring country with which it can do business. Whatever the choice Beijing decides to make, it will determine the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific. Irrespective of the choices, India has definitely has an better comeback for every threats that china throws.

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