China or USA: India Must Choose One

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Picture- Agency/ORF

The recent face-off between India and China in the Himalayas may push India closer to the West and its allies. For years, India remains an important piece in the jigsaw for the United States and its allies to counter China’s growing influence in the world.

Recent border skirmishes between India and China left at least 20 Indian troops killed in a brutal hand-to-hand battle. China didn’t disclose any deaths on its side. The proximate cause for the skirmishes was India’s decision to upgrade its military installations in the contested territory. China also built infrastructures and expanded a military base and their refusal to leave the area triggered the disputes.

India is building alliances with Australia, USA, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia. India is also confronting China in the border past several months in an emboldened move by the Indian officials.
Despite this move, India is still far behind China in terms of economic and military power. China knows this but it is also aware of India’s surging economic strength. China wants to build a hierarchical order in Asian countries and it doesn’t want India to challenge that position.

China is slowly replacing India’s influence on its neighbors. Nepal’s parliament endorsed a constitutional amendment bill tabled by the government to revise its political map to include the areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura as part of its territory. India also claims these areas as its own. The relation between India and Nepal is going downhill which opened a door for China in the Himalayan country.

The relation between India and Pakistan is already sour. There were numerous military battles between the two countries. Now, China is increasing its clout over Pakistan and building large infrastructures. Similarly, China also took Srilanka’s Hambantota port after it couldn’t pay Chinese debt. Srilanka allegedly failed to pay the Chinese loans to build the port and was forced to give it to China, which covets it as a naval base.

China is also objecting to India’s access to international bodies such as UNSC and NSG. China is also raising the Kashmir issue time and again. China strategically wants to prevent India’s growing influence as it doesn’t want India to challenge its position at the top in Asian hierarchical order.

But the more aggression by the Chinese side may leave India no option but to look West and its allies. For long, the West wanted India’s help to challenge China’s influence. To counter China, India increased tariffs on Chinese products, banned TikTok. Although it was a setback for China, it didn’t create much impact on China’s growing influence.
The ball lies in India’s court. It should side with the USA or China. India should know that the USA and its allies want to use it to check China. The USA may abandon India anytime if its interests are fulfilled.

So, China and India should resolve their border and other issues and they should stride together for economic prosperity. The synergy of Asian powers can combat the West and its allies. China also should soften its hard lines and cooperate with India. The two populous countries should come together to fight the global pandemic of COVID-19. Both countries should realize that if you have your neighbor’s support, you can fight with the outside world. If both countries come together, they can be global powers. 

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