China has backed India to host the Brics summit this year saying it is willing to work with India and other member states to strengthen cooperation. Beijing has thrown another crumb: Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit India in the second half of the year for the summit if the Covid situation improves. Notably, the Chinese overtures come as Indian and Chinese troops have completed their disengagement at the Pangong Tso area and are working on the remaining friction points. It looks now as if having heightened border tensions over the last nine months, resulting in an intense LAC standoff and deaths of soldiers on both sides, Beijing is now looking for a thaw.
There’s no denying that Brics is an important forum for China in its effort to create China-centric international organisations. Thus, its support for the Brics summit in India isn’t surprising. Perhaps, China is pursuing grey zone tactics with India. This means China will continue to be aggressive with India, as and when it deems fit, but without leading to all out conflict. After all, neither side wants total war, which would hurt Beijing’s interests too. But below that threshold China has the advantage since it is the larger economy and has a better resourced army as well as a better indigenous technology base. Knowing that Beijing will continue to turn up the heat whenever it wants to achieve strategic objectives and dial back to prevent war, India has to keep fast-tracking ties with the US and other Western nations to counter Beijing’s designs.
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