India and China – the two emerging powers who were culturally, politically, and socially always world apart. But they always have shared a unique relationship which can be defined by the saying “Great friendships are easier declared than sustained”
This got proved from the incident that took place on June 15, 2020. The Chinese forces objected to Indian road construction in the Galwan valley. And this was the ultimate death of humanity. At least twenty Indian soldiers died and seventy-six got injured in the clash. The clash was fought without any firearms because of the 1996 agreement on barring guns and explosives from the area. According to Russian sources, about forty-five Chinese soldiers died during the clash but China did not release any information about casualties. China has largely maintained silence on this issue. The official media is indicating either a “stealth war” or a way to keep the view low-key to keep the doors open for diplomatic and political rapprochement. This can also be anticipated that this could be done for the management of domestic sentiment; in case things go the wrong way.
In February 2021, China released a video of the incident and declared the death of four soldiers. To add to this, the video saw the use of the term “foreign military”. The term ‘India’ was not once mentioned. They diplomatically used phrases like “sacrificed themselves” and called India a “foreign military”. Along with this, they refrained from showing the real number of casualties. This was a calculative move which raises several questions like, Is this because of the upcoming winter Olympics? Or is it China’s strategy to show the world that they are a “responsible soft power”?
Somewhere along the lines, China took India ability to respond to China’s modernized infrastructure for granted. But in the last few years, India has caught up on its defense mechanism and is doing much better in terms of armed forces, infrastructure, patrolling, and operations. It seems China has a sense of anxiety because India can complicate things by building its infrastructure.
China in the past has never claimed Galwan Valley but its sudden demand for the valley puts forward a lot of questions. Is this because they realized that India is taking the battle at the front?
Claiming territory during a pandemic when the primary focus should be on the healthcare sector. They initiated a clash that could lead to war, which has the potential to drain the resources of a developing country. This is not what a responsible soft power does. India, being an emerging power, responsibly and bravely tackled the situation. Sticking to its core values and approach towards peace. India defended itself and lost twenty soldiers. Meanwhile, China, which is a permanent member of the United Nation Security Council, initiated a clash in the time of the pandemic, claimed a territory it never claimed before, manipulated the actual database of casualties incurred in the clash, and is still attempting to portray itself as the soft power. India’s step of banning Chinese products and investment shows clarity and consensus about India’s firm stand against China’s inhuman move.
Looking at the changing world order, China and India are emerging powers. However, when it comes to deciding which one deserves to be the next superpower. One can question a country that lies to its citizens, manipulates data, and believes in initiating a clash despite knowing the importance of maintaining peace, would be a better choice? Or a country that decided to fight back against a permanent UNSC member and also stood up to the brutality of the so-called “emerging superpower” deserves it more?
We cannot enjoy peace and harmony by pushing someone into the furnace of oppression and captivity. All humanity must benefit from peace and harmony. The quest for power will continue, but the world needs to see who deserves it more. India or China.
Ananya Saxena is a second year student pursuing BA Political Science Honours from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, University Of Delhi. She has a keen interest in International relations and geopolitics.
The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the Organisation.