Why India is not as tough as the torang incident in this confrontation

 Why India is not as tough as the torang incident in this confrontation

Since the first ten days of May, the Indian side has frequently crossed the line into Chinas territory in the galwan valley area of the western section of the actual control line of the China India border, causing trouble. Through close military and diplomatic communication, the two countries held a meeting at the military commander level of the border forces on June 6, reaching important consensus on easing the situation and agreeing to disengage at the same time. However, on the night of June 15, Indian personnel violated the consensus of both sides and twice crossed the line to attack Chinese personnel, causing the most serious casualties in the border areas of the two countries in nearly 45 years.

On June 19, when Indias major political parties were invited to discuss border issues, modis words no foreign (Chinese) personnel enter Indias territory quickly caused a stir in the two countries. Whether modi inadvertently divulged the truth or deliberately tested the external attitude, there is no doubt that the Indian government has always given the impression that it does not want to expand the incident. This is in sharp contrast to the aggressive nature of Dong Langs confrontation in 2017. So the question is, why is India so low-key in this incident?

If you know the history of Indias relations with China, you will find a rule: Indias national strength is always weaker than Chinas, and confronting China means paying huge costs. If India can not find a big country to undertake this cost, it will not dare to challenge China.

Nehru supported by the United States and the Soviet Union

In March 1959, China pacified the Tibet rebellion, but India thought that its interests in Tibet had been violated, so the Sino Indian Relations went down sharply. In December, Eisenhower, then president of the United States, visited India. During this visit, Eisenhower changed his previous critical attitude towards the non aligned movement and assured Nehru that Indias non aligned policy would not prevent the United States and India from becoming close friends. In the next four years, the United States provided more than 4 billion US dollars of aid to India, which was unprecedented in the history of U.S. - India relations at that time. [1

Eisenhowers visit to India in 1959, photo source: Nehru Diplomatic Studies

At that time, the Sino Soviet relations deteriorated gradually, and the Soviet Unions assistance to India increased. Although it can not compare with the United States in terms of the amount of aid, it has provided India with some key military equipment. Due to the urgent shortage of plateau transport aircraft and air fighters in India at that time, the Ministry of defense of India visited the Soviet Union in October 1960 and purchased two squadrons of MiG-21 fighters, eight an-12 transport aircraft, and some M-4 helicopters from them, and completed the delivery just a few months later.

At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union provided a lot of political, economic, military and diplomatic assistance to India, which made Nehru have the confidence to fight against China and carry out the so-called forward policy, which foreshadowed Indias tragic defeat in 1962. [2

During the Anti Japanese war against India, six an-12 transport planes from India participated in the reinforcement of Ladakh area. Chinas transport-8 is also a copy of the an-12. Photo source: CCSA

Rajiv Gandhis political predicament and the Sino Indian conflict in 1987

On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Her son Rajiv Gandhi inherited her political heritage and became Prime Minister of India. In the next two years, Rajiv Gandhi did not become a tough politician like her mother, but had to deal with domestic problems. The economic reform is hard to push forward, the riots in Punjab and Assam continue, the power struggle between Arjun Singh and tripati in the party is increasingly fierce, and the opposition parties such as the Indian party are covetous, which makes Rajiv Gandhi headache.

On November 25, 1986, Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, visited India. The two sides reaffirmed the alliance between India and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union gave India a lot of economic and military assistance [3], which gave Rajiv Gandhi, who was trapped in domestic problems, a strong shot.

In December 1986, shortly after Gorbachevs departure, India unilaterally announced that it would upgrade Chinas southern Tibet to Arunachal Pradesh, which quickly worsened the already relaxed Sino Indian Relations and became the background of the 1987 Sino Indian border conflict. And Rajiv Gandhis political purpose is also exposed through this incident. He wants to bypass domestic problems and build up the image of the winner in China and improve his political prestige by intensifying the border issue between China and India. But at this time, Gorbachev was obsessed with domestic problems and could not give India effective support. The conflict between China and India was diluted shortly after it happened.

Modis calculation: reaping profits

In January 2017, trump officially entered the White House. This maverick president has always been touting a tough policy towards China, especially advocating trade sanctions against China, which naturally attracted modis attention. On June 25, 2017, modi paid a state visit to the United States. At this time, the confrontation between China and India was hyped again and again by the Indian media, which led to the rapid escalation of the border dispute between China and India. It is obvious to all that modi is intensifying and using a common border conflict to portray himself as a victim and win Trumps support for India.

Although trump didnt want to get involved in the dispute between China and India, he took advantage of the conflict. In the first half of 2017, trump praised Chinas efforts on North Koreas nuclear issue. But before and after the G20 summit in Hamburg from July 7 to July 8, when the dispute between China and India was most intense, trump suddenly criticized Chinas insufficient efforts on North Korea.

At this time, Trumps behavior logic is obvious. The United States is not involved in the dispute between China and India, but when one of the parties to the conflict seeks the help of the United States, it must give certain interests to the United States. Although Trumps intention to use the donglang incident to force China to continue to press North Korea is obvious, who can guarantee that trump will not press India for this reason?

Trumps daily life: taking advantage of the fire

There are also conflicts of interest between the United States and India. At the meeting between modi and trump in June 2017, trump put down the words modi will have a good friend in the White House. The next sentence turned to the issue of trade disputes between the two countries, asking India to open its market and reduce the US trade deficit. Modi thought that he could profit from the conflict between China and the United States, but he found that the United States wanted to take advantage of the dispute between China and India. As a result, the donglang incident has lost its political significance to India. On the border issue between China and India, Indias attitude appeared obvious hesitation and softening. The softening of this attitude, along with Trumps consistent attitude towards India, continued until this confrontation in the valley of calawan.

This has happened more than once. During his visit to India in February 2020, trump reiterated his policy towards India and continued to demand that India open its domestic market. Before that, trump had already cancelled Indias most favored nation treatment and imposed tariffs on Indias steel and aluminum, which had aroused Indias anger. The most embarrassing thing for India is that trump said he was a friend of Pakistan in front of more than 100000 Indians during his visit. In fact, he is implying that he can mediate the dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. But in modis view, trump is actually taking advantage of the fire to Force India to make concessions on trade issues.

The crisis behind the myth of modi

In addition to not daring to act rashly without external support, modis domestic political prospects are also very worrying. When modi came to power, people had high hopes for it, which was called modi myth. There are actually three trumps behind this myth.

The first one is a halo. Modi was born in the village of modi in wadnagar, Gujarat. His father was a small shopkeeper who ran a grocery store. In the local area, his family belongs to the Ganqi caste, which traditionally produces vegetable oil and is considered to be a low caste family. When he was a teenager, modi didnt do well in his studies. He soon dropped out of school and became a tea worker. After he joined the national volunteer service group (RSS), he gradually showed his strong political ability. Later, he was discovered and supported by the upper class, step by step to the present. It is because of modis grassroots nature that he has brought great political prestige to the bottom of the society.

Modi used to be a famous speaker when he was young

The second is economic empowerment. During his reign in Gujarat, modi constantly attracted foreign investment, making the countrys economic growth rate the highest in India. At the same time, Indias performance in promoting the relatively slow infrastructure construction and employment is particularly outstanding. Making Gujarat a business card for Indias economy, modi also gained the trust of young people.

The third is nationalism. Modis BJP was founded as a radical Hindu nationalist group. They claim to represent the interests of Hindu groups, but in fact they use religion to cover up non religious social needs, expectations and conflicts. During the Gujarat riots in 2002, Modi, then the states chief minister, encouraged, sheltered and connived Hindus to attack Muslims, resulting in thousands of casualties. But he set up a tough nationalist image in India and won the ideological favor of 1 billion Hindus.

But now, the myth of modi supported by these three trumps has changed in this epidemic situation. As of June 20th, novel coronavirus pneumonia in India has exceeded 400 thousand, second only to the United States, Brazil and Russia. Moreover, Indias domestic economy has experienced a relatively large recession. Indias GDP growth rate in the first quarter was only 1.6%. In May, imports and exports fell 51.1%, 36.5% respectively, and the domestic unemployment rate exceeded 23%. HP has set the default rating of foreign currency issuers in India as the lowest investment grade: BBB -. The economic recession has led to a sharp decline in the popularity of modi [5], and the modi myth is no longer so striking.

Indian peoples support for modi in all aspects changes, photo source: Business- standard.com

At this time, if modi wants to redeem his political reputation by playing with nationalism, he can only aim at such weaker countries as Pakistan and Nepal. If he targets China with nationalism and increases his political score by intensifying the border dispute between China and India, India may suffer more than accidental casualties. At that time, not only Indias national interests will be damaged, but modis personal reputation, as well as his Indian party government, will be severely impacted.


1. Zhang Zhongxiang, Nehru Diplomatic Studies, China Social Sciences Press, July 2002, first edition.

2. Zhang Zhongxiang, Nehru Diplomatic Studies, China Social Sciences Press, July 2002, first edition.

3. Gorbachevs trip to India

Four https://thediplomat.com/2017/06/6-major-takeaways-from-indian-pm-narendra-modi-first-summit-with-donald-trump/

https://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/28560/United_ States_ and_ India_ Prosperity_ Through_ Partnership

Five https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/approval-rating-for-modi-govt-2-0-falls-to-62-from-75-last-year-survey-120052800088_ 1.html

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