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Signals are coming from the US seeking security cooperation with the Americans so as to face the Chinese threat on the northern border, or even a joint threat from China and Pakistan. US national security adviser Robert O’ Brien has stated that dialogues will not work with China. China raised the bar also by saying it will not accept India’s branding of Ladakh as a Union Territory and that it has objections to the erection of roads and bridges by India in the Ladakh region.
India’s response, as the US noted, is a tame one. The Modi government is taking every step with caution and refuses to be provoked. Strengthening the border infrastruture as India is doing now will by itself not be enough.
President Trump, ending his term soon, has crafted a coalition of the nations that are willing to stop China in its aggressive tracks in the Asia region, be it in the seas or on land. The quadrilateral security dialogue, styled as Quad, involves India, Japan, Australia and the US. A recent meet in Japan dwelt at length on the security threats to the region.
India is hesitating to be a part of a military alliance led by the US. If a full-scale military alliance is brought into force, this will be a formidable front against China. However, a fear could be that Indian public opinion might perhaps not be game with it, in view of our previous commitment to Non-Alignment as a state policy. Also, the US may have a bigger agenda. India had entered into a similar pact with the Soviet Union during the time of Indira Gandhi. This is possible now with the US as well. But, a likelihood seen by analysts is, what if in a future war against the US, China attacks India with missiles, as we are in China’s easy geographical reach. This would mean inviting trouble.
What cannot be ignored at this point of time is also that China has built up impressive military strength, while India sat back and mused. Now, Chinese military might is five times that of India. A direct confrontation could likely mean China taking the upper hand. It will take time for India to build its military muscle matching that of China’s. India might not have as much of resources too. This therefore is the time for India to see how best it can protect itself.