Editor’s Note

China is being a bit of a schoolyard bully. The question is: what should India do?

Published : Feb 09, 2023 10:35 IST

The slow build-up in trust between India and China from the 1990s, marked by summits and confidence-building measures, was rudely interrupted by the Daulat Beg Oldi standoff in 2013. Since then there has been a stream of incidents: in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022. That these happened even as Prime Minister Modi and President Xi exuded enormous bonhomie eerily recalls the “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” sloganeering that immediately preceded the 1962 war.

While nothing as foolhardy is expected from the two nuclear powers today, the fact that the Indo-China border remains fractious is a drain on precious resources and human lives, especially when collaboration between the two neighbours could truly create a formidable Asian age.

While China is being a bit of a schoolyard bully, the question is, what should India do? The good news is that the two countries are still talking, still reaching out, still clucking about peace. Regardless of rabid TV anchors, if good sense prevails in political circles, it will find a way forward, one that uses a smart mix of commerce (trade between the two nations touched an all-time high of $136 billion last year), talks at all levels, and military vigilance. While staying wary of being manipulated by the West in its Great Game with China.

In the long term, India could increase focus on culture—stars like Aamir Khan are household names in China—and use soft power to build bridges.

Most importantly, it is high time leaders worldwide abandoned this macho posturing and abject surrender to the military-capitalist complex that is increasingly pushing policy.

That, of course, is my view. While the magazine brings you experts such as Kanti Bajpai, Sushant Singh, Manoj Joshi, and V. Anand with their takes on the Indo-China face-off. Plus, there is an exclusive interview with former PLA officer Col Zhou Bo by John Cherian. All of which together make for sparkling and provocative debate, a Frontline forte.

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