India and China Dispute
India and China relations have two faces. First, involving a historical, civilizational extent that links our border regions to China’s periphery, Xinjiang, and Tibet. Other is a modern dimension lacking emotional and humanistic factors, links to the present scenario.
The Tibet Agreement Panchsheel
In 1954, India and China signed their first bilateral agreement Panchsheel. The Tibet Agreement is the first international agreement signed in Hindi, Chines, and English. It entailed the creation of trade agencies for India in Yatung, Gyantse, and Gartok in Tibet. An Indian consulate replaces then a political mission. 6 passes along the India and China frontier identified as crossing points for trade and pilgrimage. Border trade was notable to India and China relations at that time, even if there was no mutual agreement on the India and China border. This all ended in 1962. The Tibet agreement came to an end before the conflict.
Border trade revive later in 1991, but it not fully. The recent tragedy in the Galwan River Valley lessens our bilateral trust. It also reminds us of what we have lost in the decades, human contact between our Himalayan regions, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Ladakh’s Trade With Tibet
Once, Ladakh contiguity with Central Asia and Tibet, made Leh their capital. It was the emporium of cross-border trade between India, Tibet, Central Asia, and Afghanistan. The caravan routes meeting on Leh has their connection with the Silk Route and Yarkand, Kashgar Khotan in Xinjiang. It was through Karakoram Pass which is the most important and long-established way between India and Central Asia.
Then, Kashmiri Muslim traders settled in Ladakh and monopolized trade with Tibet. Trade ended with Xinjiang in 1949-50 when the People’s Liberation Army came. Ladakh’s trade with Tibet starts diminishing by 1959 after the Chinese take-over in 1950-51. All were absorbed by the border dispute between India and China. Later, China-Pakistan relations from 1963 onwards start to create complications.
Sino-Indian war is an India and China border conflict in 1962. Trade ties broke completely after this war and then start resuming in 1978. China’s economic reforms and policies brought a change withing the country then and also generates a huge impact. It became India’s largest trading partner in goods by 2010. Later, the U.S took its position and China is at second now.
The Chinese access is not just across the Line of Actual Control, but into the various economic sectors also. A little detach has its challenges. Frustrations with china are not new and our trade relationship is in imbalance. Our Chinese imports in 2018-19 were $70.3 billion while chines exports were $16.7 billion.
From 2016, China is entering the technology sector. It has investments and acquisitions of Indian Startup. Tech giants like Alibaba in Paytm, BigBasket, Zomato, Snapdeal enter then. And also, Tencent in Ola, Byju’s, Swiggy, Flipkart. Xiaomi is too a big investor. China has a strategy of long term presence and a notable stake in the Indian market. It’s been set in Indian society, economy, and technology ecosystem that influences it. In India, the dependence on Chinese goods is big. Investment in the manufacturing sector can only be successful if we will upgrade our infrastructure.
Now, if we talk about the present scenario between both nations do have a link with history. All the acts happening lately on the borders are just identical pictures of the past. Recently, a dispute with the Chinese army at Galwan Valley in Ladakh has reopened the pages of the past. But, as of this time, our forces fought back. India and China went through a loss of hundreds of people.
China prisoned our 10 soldiers but to make it even, our forces put their Commander General behind the bars in our territory. To them, it was the great symbol of losing this dispute to our forces. Days went on and now both the nations retreated their forces from the heated grounds and things came back to quite normal.
India and China’s relationship mount a wide spectrum. Our ties between Himalayan regions and Tibet were people-centered that China has broken. We are going through a pandemic and the stakes involved impact our India’s economic well-being. But, cannot ignore the national security concerns.
In the nutshell, this present dispute with China should lead us to a better future in reducing the usage of Chinese goods and promoting our goods in the Indian market. Also, in many other ways to remove the presence of China in the Indian market.
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