No Business As Usual: The India-China border dispute should be front and centre in bilateral ties


In an incredible statement, Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong reiterated China’s position that the border dispute with India should be kept at the “right place” and that the two countries should resolve differences through cooperation. This is nothing but the old Chinese line that the border dispute should be compartmentalised while normal business and commercial ties should continue. But with both countries about to mark a year since the Galwan Valley clashes that killed 20 Indian soldiers, the Chinese ambassador’s statement must be condemned outright. 

After all, the disengagement process in Ladakh has stalled with the Chinese PLA still occupying areas claimed by India. In such a scenario, it cannot be business as usual with China. Plus, compartmentalisation of the border dispute is no longer acceptable. It should now be treated as the main issue in bilateral ties. China’s salami slicing tactics have gone on for far too long. And if Beijing is not going to be sensitive about New Delhi’s territorial sovereignty, we too shouldn’t be concerned about Chinese core interests. 

In fact, India should continue coordinating with the Quad to counterbalance China and even boost ties with Taiwan. The latter helped India during its second Covid wave by donating medical supplies. When Taiwan today is in the midst of its own Covid surge, India should repay that goodwill and enhance health cooperation with Taipei, ignoring any protests from Beijing. 

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