India and China have recently been face to face across the line of actual control (LAC). After blows were exchanged and brouhaha was made, negotiations started.
China may have backtracked at certain point but assuming that the worst is behind us will be a blunder.
Various news are trickling in like
1. Chinese Army build up is still intact on other side of the border.
2. Indian Army is not letting its guard down
3. US Aircraft carrier is active in South China sea
4. EU, Japan, Australia etc are taking sides
5. Russia suspended delivery of S-400 missile system to China
6. Countries like Afghanistan, Nepal etc are being pursued by China to be used for extension of its ambitious projects
7. Anti-China sentiments are at all time high in post COVID world
and it goes on...
All this point to just one thing: The road to peace is a long and curvy one.
China is a country, which has mastered the art of arm twisting. They have used diplomacy, financing, trade etc as tool and understand the language of strength.
If India has to earn respect of the world and also protect its own territory, we need to stand up, something which we did. We stood up in Doklam as in Galwan. Our government has take steps which may impact chinese companies adversely but it is not enough.
If chinese have to be pushed back, we need to get onto the position of strength and push them hard. It may difficult to push Chinese further back withing their own boundaries and banning apps may be a trifle.
India needs to use diplomacy, trade and military in sync to thwart the threat.
Diplomatically, China is on back foot in current world order. The world, in unison, blames China for the pandemic, which has resulted in loss of lives, wealth and freedom of people. While the pressure has gone up, China has largely been defiant and seems to take similar position in future.
India should align countries around the globe together to ensure the pressure on China does no ease off. China may maintain defiant stand but how long? Under the pressure, it has to bulk, sooner or later.
Trade is what needs to be given serious consideration. China, currently, after a long time, has been facing the problem of Current account deficit, not a known territory for China to play in. The middle kingdom has been a manufacturing hub of the world. Exodus of manufacturing units would impact China and its economy further. Growing unemployment will create pressure on the government. Indian government is doing the right thing by approaching American, Japanese and European companies to take the next flight out and land in India. This may be a long drawn process and environments and geo political situation may change much faster than what we expect. So, dynamism and speed of change will determine how successful this exercise is.
Trade and military are not mutually exclusive. Brits came to india as trader and set up their fiefdom. China is doing the same thing across the globe. Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc have faced the brunt. Pakistan is anyway behaving like a child in the laps of China.
The concept of string of pearls is well known. Around Indian Ocean, encompassing Indian territory, China has set up its pieces and had India worried.
India to an extent has worked its way with offshore defense bases in Seychelles and Indonesia, neutralising Chinese influence in Sri lanka and Maldives but has also lost its ground in neighbors like Nepal. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Vietnam etc may be another key factors.Countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia may be game changer.
To push China back, why is not India getting bolder? Blocking straight of malacca and strait of Sunda, with help from Indonesia will impact exports of China. Why not take that step. If they put pressure on our army in the north, why not to put pressure on their trade in south and push them to disengage at the border?
Baluchistan revolutionists may be banked upon to ensure chinese transit through Gwadar is not a cakewalk. Managing chabahar port may add to our advantage.
There is a lot that we can do but it will nee willpower to go into unchartered waters. India has never been known for strongman tactics but then India was never in the situation like this before either.
Chances are that it may backfire and China may up the ante. The situation may worsen and we may get into a war like situation so diplomatic steps taken along with such tactics may make a difference.