South China Sea Dispute and India - China relations UPSC IAS Target

South China Sea Dispute and India - China relations UPSC

30 Nov 2020

Category : International Relations

Topic: South China Sea Dispute and India - China relations UPSC

India-China economic relations are growing. On the other side, there is no development in the India Pakistan trade relations. Pakistan-China trade relations are also not that huge. On the surface, Pakistan is a democratic country, but it is the military, which rules Pakistan. India should be ready to deal with both the neighbours, because of antagonistic attitude and the nexus b/w Indian and Pakistan army. Between 1995 and 2005 China attempted to de-hyphenate its relationship b/w India and Pakistan. There is a need to understand why Pakistan has shifted its focus from the U.S. to China. At the same time, China was also stressed about the alliance between India, Australia, United States, and Japan.

New Platform of Competition

Indian Ocean China has been reaching out to India’s neighbors on the premise of development & trade. Also, offering a huge loan to small countries may influence a sovereign country's decision and detrimental to India's interest by recreating the Silk Route. From Nepal in the southeast to Myanmar, Bangladesh to Sri Lanka in the south and Pakistan in the west, China plans to obstruct India diplomatically. There are diplomatic visits, courtesy calls, exchange of gifts and vows between Mr. Modi and the heads of all of the surrounding countries, to not just counter the Chinese influence but also strengthen the Indian presence
Issue on River’s water The dispute between India and China is the Brahmaputra River flowing through the two countries. The search for water resources in China and India has been a source of tension between the two countries. Chinese efforts to reroute the water resources of the Brahmaputra River by creating huge storage of water and route water to china Southern region away from India will deteriorate a situation that has remained uptight since the 1962 Indo-China war. This rerouting of water has much implication on India especially during the war and dry season, where China controls the flow of water against India's interest.

The melting glaciers in the Himalayas as a consequence of accelerating global climate change will have a dramatic effect on this river’s water supply. This will increase water paucity and the likelihood of floods, influencing agrarian livelihoods and strain the fragile equilibrium b/w the two Asian giants.
Pakistan as an issue b/w China and India Relationship Pakistan is defined as a classical example of a failed state. However, China won’t be comfortable with the idea of a failed state in Pakistan due to the terror of nuclear terrorism. As India grows, Pakistan’s terror and insecurity also grow. It is the army that is in real control and dictates the course of action in Pakistan. Geography plays a significant role in defining the relationship b/w India, China, and Pakistan. It is geopolitics which is dictating the terms of this relationship.

China has been blocking the Indian allege to the UNSC permanent seat because both India and Japan have been associated together. And China has always been against the Japanese entry. China is now facing a dilemma as to how to manage its relationship both with India and Pakistan. It is troublesome for China to leave Pakistan but for China, India is also very important, especially when China's economy is facing slow down. So India has become important for China in this time where globalisation is facing a challenge from the supporter who was a front runner in promoting globalisation earlier but they reversed their position, now the debate around the Gwadar port continues. There is a need to wait and watch as to who takes over the port after the Singaporean authority moves out. There are rumors that Gwadar port may become a naval base.
There is a need to emphasize the role which China plays in the domestic politics of Pakistan. In the long run, Operation Geronimo can prove to be a turning point in China Pakistan relations. There is a need to spotlight a research question and on ideas of a two-front war. The debates around pinned visas should be left out of the paper. There is a need to also spotlight the understanding of the new leadership in China and their understanding of China Pakistan relations. India should work towards building more military to military level interaction with Pakistan. Additionally, India needs to learn to manage the relationship with China and Pakistan keeping in view the close ties between the two.

India and South-China Sea

3 million sq. km the South China Sea is the maritime heart of Southeast Asia but also a disputable property. Maritime boundaries in the South China Sea are problematic because of overlapping claims of six separate claimants in a mostly enclosed body of water with a large number of disputed land features. The nine-dash line area alleged by the Republic of China, later the People's Republic of China (PRC), which covers most of the South China Sea and overlaps with the exclusive economic zone claims of Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
The South China Sea is ringed by China, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and spotted with hundreds of small islands, reefs, and shoals, many of them occupied by the disputants. The main issue in the South China Sea is related to sovereignty, which state has sovereignty over the islands and their contiguous waters. The Spratly Islands are located in the central part of the South China Sea, north of Borneo, east of Vietnam, west of the Philippines, and south of the Chinese island of Hainan. The Spratly Islands spread over an area of more than 410,000 square km.
The Paracel Islands are situated in the northern part of the South China Sea, approximately halfway from the coastlines of Vietnam and China (Hainan). They are claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China powerfully ejected South Vietnamese troops from the Paracel in 1974, and they have now fully occupied by China. China rebuffs the existence of a dispute over these islands, but they are a continual source of tension b/w Vietnam and China. The Paracel spread in approx 15,000 km² of the ocean surface. Woody Island, the largest island in the Paracel. Woody Island is the location of Sansha City, a prefecture-level city set up by China in June 2012 as its administrative centre for its claims in the South China Sea.
Scarborough Reef lies in the northern part of the South China Sea between the Philippines and the Paracel and is claimed by China, Taiwan, and the Philippines. It has been a major source of worry b/w the Phillippines and China. Since the Philippines has attempted the arrest of Chinese fishermen in June 2012. The Pratas Islands are situated just over 200 miles southwest of Hong Kong. They are occupied by Taiwan and are also claimed by China. Macclesfield Bank, a large sunken reef is situated b/w Scarborough Reef and the Paracel. It is claimed by China and Taiwan.
India has advanced its Act East Policy, an improved version of the 1990s Look East Policy. The new approach now covers a more robust political and security engagement with Asia, an area spanning from the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. As its geopolitical and economic significance has grown, India’s pursuit of economic security has moved beyond the country’s instant geographic realm. New Delhi is now swiftly developing economic, political, and diplomatic relations with selected East Asian states and the US. India shifted from its earlier Non-aligned position in international relations to the actual politics of the world, and as a more proactive actor in Asian security issues. Its security agenda has been particularly attentive to China’s present activities in the South China Sea. India’s main security concern in the South China Sea is the guarantee of liberty of navigation – something that Indian political and military officials have constantly expressed to China in several fora.
The overall India-China bilateral relationship continues to reflect both cooperation and competition. From unsettled border issues to an increasing Chinese presence in the IOR itself, the competitive aspects of the bilateral relationship where economic opportunities have the potential to transform the aggressive relationship to healthy competition between two great economic power and bring close not only country but country-men also.
India and China’s shared economic interests include community building in East Asia, economic integration through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and coordination within the ‘Brazil Russia India China and South Africa’ (BRICS) forum. India and china cooperation extended from BRICS to BASIC, from WTO to climate change, and both countries also active in focusing on strengthening globalization. However, China’s peace-making economic policy towards India comes as Beijing is pushing its maritime consolidation in the South China Sea. This consolidation includes the upgrade of China’s facilities in the Spratly Islands and its dismissal of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling.
India's interest is in the south-china sea range from the greater naval presence to energy exploration activities. Though, India also concerns with other countries due to china's expansionist approach and peril to liberty of navigation due to china's claim on the whole South-China Sea. These objectives involve neglecting escalations that might influence its security; maintaining growing levels of trade with its partners, especially China; and developing a naval strategy that is full ‘Indo-Pacific’ in nature.
Security risks continue to dominate the mindset of India’s policy circles, from terrorism and border instability on the subcontinent to China’s recent economic and naval advances in the IOR. China is also supporting secessionist groups operating in NE states and drugs and arms cartels which enjoy china's support. In the South China Sea, India might soon decide whether or not to project full naval power, even though this maritime region is still supposed as a secondary area in its recent maritime strategies. India’s goal to become a key power in East Asia, among other policies to consolidate it as a proactive member of the maritime community, means the country requires upgrading its naval strategy to fully address the importance of the South China Sea for its economic security.
India’s future policy towards the South China Sea might not necessarily incorporate the containment of China in tandem with the United States, Australia, and Japan, as some are now suggesting. There’s no need to involve freedom of navigation operations. Rather, New Delhi’s approach to the South China Sea may come in the form of upgraded security cooperation to face non-traditional risks such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
New Delhi’s long-term maritime development strategy should include more investment in Southeast Asian maritime infrastructure, and efforts to improve port capacity with partners and allies alike. Its short and mid-term priorities with China must include searching for mechanisms to promote maritime cooperation and guarantee freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. At the end of the day, the relationship b/w India and China still include relevant security priorities for India beyond the South China Sea. These may lead both countries onto the path of bilateral cooperation and serve the ultimate purpose of revitalizing the Indian Act East Policy for years to come.