India, China Border Conflict ‘Far From Over’ After Army Chief’s Warning & Massive Dip In Bilateral Business

The India-China border conflict may have far-reaching impacts on both countries. From Army Chief General M.M. Naravane’s warning to China to the decline in India’s imports from the neighboring country, everything indicates that the relations between New Delhi and Beijing will not normalize anytime soon.

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Speaking on the occasion of Army Day, the Indian army chief has given a strong message to China, saying that “no one should commit the mistake of testing our patience”.

He said India has given a befitting response to the (Chinese) conspiracy of attempting to unilaterally change the status quo along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC).

His statement has come amid the eight-month-long border standoff between India and China in Eastern Ladakh. The two sides have held several rounds of military and diplomatic-level talks and but no consensus has been reached yet.

On Thursday, India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said that both sides continue to maintain close communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement at all friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

He also said that the two sides would be undertaking the next round of military talks. The last round of talks under the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs was held on December 18.

Strong Statement from Army Chief

In the past week, statements from the top brass of the Indian armed forces have reflected India’s strong resolve against Chinese aggression. Reports had suggested that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) moved back at least 10,000 soldiers from depth areas in the Ladakh theater to rear positions.

But the Indian Army chief warned that one should not read too much into the reports on withdrawal from depth areas on the Tibetan plateau. He said there has been absolutely no reduction of troops by either side at friction points in the Ladakh sector.

India has also ramped up its defense procurement and is going all out to highlight how its defense equipment gives it an edge over both China and Pakistan.

File:IAF Tejas full size (32941198511).jpg
IAF Tejas

After the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the largest indigenous defense procurement deal worth about ₹ 48,000 crores to buy 83 LCA Tejas Mark1A fighter jets, Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria said on Thursday:

“Indian aircraft Tejas is far better and advanced than the Chinese and Pakistan joint venture JF-17 fighter….In terms of strike capability, it will have the capability of a standoff weapon which will be even beyond the capability we used that time (Balakot airstrike).”

Economic Impact

The border tensions have had economic implications as well. The data from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has revealed that purchases from China fell by 19.5% in the first 10 months of 2020, the sharpest decline in two decades. The figures show a decline in the imports of appliances, furniture, and toys.

After the Galwan Valley incident in June 2020 in which India lost 20 of its soldiers in a brutal clash with the Chinese PLA, the government had immediately imposed tough measures to restrict Chinese businesses.

Besides banning more than 100 Chinese apps and websites, high tariffs were imposed on imports from China. New Delhi had also introduced a policy to review investments from China and other neighboring countries to keep a check on Chinese activities.

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