India-China border tensions and the hosting of G20

New Delhi, 25/12: The latest round of clashes between Indian and Chinese armies in Arunachal Pradesh has once again underlined the gravity of the China challenge faced by India. In fact, India and China have been locked in a border standoff in Ladakh since April 2020. India has mirrored and matched the Chinese deployments in Eastern Ladakh and has sought to prevent China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from slicing the Indian territory.



While writing about the clashes in Arunachal Pradesh, many analysts have referred to the recent Indo-US military exercises near the China border in Uttarakhand. Moreover, according to the latest report of the US Department of Defense, China conveyed to the Americans that it should not interfere in its ties with India. However, while the standoff has not been resolved in Ladakh, the PLA’s assertiveness in Arunachal Pradesh is certainly driven to send a political message as well. Besides, the timing of the clash was rather interesting.


Apart from the obvious Chinese interest in the strategically important Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers as Southern Tibet and claims the entirety of the state, three major developments need to be noted to understand the geopolitical context. First, the party congress of the Chinese Communist Party took place in October and Xi Jinping now reigns supreme. He has consolidated his grip on the party, military, and government and feels even more confident to project power abroad.


Second, since the G20 summit in Indonesia in November, the US and China have been trying to re-engage and manage their differences. As a result, China and Xi Jinping found themselves on a much stronger footing. Third, on December 1, India assumed the rotating presidency of the G20. India’s government plans to celebrate the G20 summit and associated meetings as an event that will highlight the rise of India on the world stage. In this context, the three key political messages behind the border clash with India need to be understood.

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