India-China Dispute — What has been the Global Fallout?
The Sino-Indian or India-China border has seen its fair share of disruptions and conflict in the past. However, for years on end, the two world powers seemed to have reached a position of mutual understanding for individual growth and prosperity. The year 2020 has brought all the agreement down.
The root cause lies in an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long border that both countries dispute. Rivers, lakes, and snowcaps along the frontier mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sometimes leading to the confrontation. The two nations are also competing to build infrastructure along the border, which is also known as the Line of Actual Control. India’s construction of a new road to a high-altitude airbase is seen as one of the main triggers for a clash with Chinese troops in June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. This year has been particularly violent. The June clash in the Galwan Valley — fought with sticks and clubs, not guns — was the first fatal confrontation between the two sides since 1975, and relations have continued to deteriorate.
The question that arises now is how is the rest of the world going to be affected by the conflict between these two world powers? Let’s have a look. On the world trade and IT front, one of the major advancements that have taken place in the wake of the Sino-India conflict is that Apple has shifted a part of its second manufacturing centres from China to India and other parts of Asia, like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia, etc. Since 2001, China and Apple had an understanding that benefits both the parties, equally. However, in the light of the recent pandemic and political tensions that China is a significant part of, Apple’s vendors have ramped up their investments outside of China, targeting the only other country with a population of more than 1 billion: India — which comes as a huge economic bonus to our country.
Another point of tension that has been on the rise for several years now is the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s baby, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. While some countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are keen on OBOR, countries like India and Indonesia are wary because of the shift in status quo that this project could cause in sensitive areas like Kashmir and the South China Sea. The issue that India is facing is that the establishment of a project with China in the disputed territory gives Pakistan’s occupation of the area a degree of legitimacy. And India’s clear stand on the issue is that Pakistan is illegally occupying Indian territory. Getting on board OBOR or talking to China and Pakistan about CPEC would be problematic for India as it could be seen as conceding ground to Pakistan.
The India-China conflict, if left unchecked, can prove disastrous for both the countries involved. There is so much potential for an economic fallout, as China is one of India’s biggest trading partners. India’s government recently banned more than 150 China-linked apps, including the hugely popular TikTok, citing security concerns. Many observers have said talks are the only way forward because both countries have so much to lose.
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