India border guards crossed over the Sikkim section of the China-India border to the China side and triggered a face-off with Chinese troops. What is behind India's decision to provoke a border dispute? What actions should China take to deal with provocation from India? How will this dispute influence the China-India relationship? Global Times reporter Yang Chuchu interviewed two scholars on these issues.
Li Qingyan, associate research fellow at the Department for International and Strategic Studies of the China Institute of International Studies
The present China-India border dispute is a very serious event. India has entered Chinese territory without permission, and obstructed normal activities of Chinese frontier forces in the Donglang area of the Sikkim sector. This is not acceptable to any country. Some senior officials in India have even made irresponsible remarks on the current standoff between Indian and Chinese troops, such as, "The situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different," which has worsened the situation.
India's action was prompted by several factors. First, the situation in the world has changed. In the past few years, India has had good ties with several major powers. Its relations with the US and Japan have improved to new heights, especially in defense relations. It can be said that this has inspired India to overvalue its international status.
Moreover, after economic reforms, India has enjoyed a period of rapid economic growth. However, it should be known that economic development needs a peaceful and stable environment. Both China and India need peace for their growth.
In addition, within India, there are some irrational voices on dealing with international affairs. It is hoped the India government has a rational understanding of this issue.
At present, Indian troops are still lingering in China's territory, increasing the risk of military confrontation. China has called for India to withdraw from Chinese territory and avoid the escalation of the dispute. It seems that India is waiting for China's reaction, and probing to see China's bottom line.
Although China has made the greatest efforts for a peaceful solution, how the situation will develop remains to be seen. If India does not withdraw, China will definitely take strong actions.
India should not have illusions about China compromising on the issue of territorial sovereignty. The precondition for all negotiations is the withdrawal of India's troops from Chinese territory.
Li Li, deputy director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations
The current India-China border dispute is different from those in the past, which mainly occurred in areas where sovereignty was disputed. The conflict this time happened in the Sikkim section of the China-India border, which was defined by the Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890). This has been accepted by both China and India.
There are several reasons for India to stir up this dispute. Narendra Modi's administration has taken a firm line on security issues, demonstrated by India's surgical strikes against Pakistan on the other side of Line of Control last year.
With the rise of China, the conflicts between China, a growing power, and the US, a long-existing superpower, have witnessed an increase, putting more pressure on China in the Western Pacific region.
Some people in India hold the view that China is distracted by its issues with the US and will pay less attention to India. This provides a good opportunity for India to stir up trouble and take advantage of the situation.
In addition, India-US relations have improved and the two nations have strengthened their military cooperation. Besides, China has always held a cooperative and friendly attitude toward India over bilateral disputes, which has indulged India.
India and China should find a peaceful solution to the present border spat, and make the situation cool down. This is the only way-out for the two countries. China and India have a lot of experience in border control, and have good communication channels for settling disputes. Both have large populations with a strong desire for development, contributing to bilateral cooperation.
India should take a cautious attitude with its disagreements with China, and not make a risky move and amplify the dispute. Not only present development but also future development of the two countries depends on a peaceful and stable environment.