Anthropology: Indo-Chinese Relations Amidst COVID-19

Indo-Chinese relations are also called as Indian Chinese relations. The relations between India and China are bilateral. The relationship tone has changed over the time. Both of the countries seek economic cooperation from each other while common border disputes and economic nationalism in both countries are a major point of contention. Modern relations began in 1950 when India was among the first countries to end good relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and to recognize the People’s Republic of China as the official state of Mainland China. China and India are the two largest regional empires in Asia, and they are two of the most populous countries and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The growing influence of economic and economic relations has increased the importance of their relationship.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi with the President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, during G20 Summit, in Hangzhou, China on September 04, 2016.

The cultural and economic relations between China and India date back to ancient times. The Silk Road not only serves as a major trade route between India and China, but is also credited with helping the spread of Buddhism from India to East Asia. During the 19th century, China became involved in trade that grew  with the East India Company which has exported to India. During World War II, both British India and the Republic of China played a key role in halting the progress of Imperial Japan.

Relations between then China and India have been marked by border conflict, which has led to three military wars – the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the 1967 Chola incident, and the 1987 Sino-Indian war. In early 2017, the two countries clashed in the Doklam plain near the disputed Sino-Bhutan border. However, since the late 1980’s, both countries have successfully established communication and economic relations. In 2008, China became a major trading partner in India and the two countries also expanded their strategic and military relations.

Apart from the growth of economic and strategic relations, there are many challenges that India and the PRC have to overcome. India faces a lot of trade inequality in favor of China. The two countries have failed to resolve their border dispute and the Indian media has repeatedly reported on the entry of Chinese troops into the Indian subcontinent. Both countries have established military infrastructure in border areas, including the 2020 China-India conflict.  Furthermore, India remains wary of China’s close ties with Pakistan, and China’s support for divisive groups in northeastern India, while China expressed concern over India’s military and economic activities in the disputed South China Sea.

Relations in 1950

India established a communications relationship with the PRC on 1 April 1950, the first non-communist / socialist nation in Asia to do so.

Founding of the Sino-Indian Friendship Association on 16 May 1952 in Beijing.
credit: wikipedia

China considers Tibet as part of its territory. The previous government of the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek also claimed that Tibet is a Chinese province, but has failed to regain control. Chairman Mao saw the Indian concern over Tibet as a sign of interference in the internal affairs of the PRC. The PRC also regained control of Tibet and the abolition of Tibetan Buddhism and feudalism, which it did with the power of arms in the 1950s. [Citation required] To avoid opposition to the PRC, Nehru informed Chinese leaders that India has no political motives or national aspirations and did not demand special rights in Tibet but those traditional trade rights must continue. [citation] With the backing of India, Tibetan envoys signed an agreement in May 1951 recognizing the PRC regime [citation needed] but confirmed that the current Tibetan political and social system would continue.

In October 1954, China and India signed an agreement with Tibet, in which India accepted Tibet as part of China and China accepted the continuation of previous trade arrangements. Observers noted an agreement in favor of China.

It is a popular notion that the real language of Indian-Chinese communication in the 1950s was Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, which means, in Hindi, “Indians and Chinese are brothers”. Nehru sought to establish a direct dialogue between Chinese and Indian peoples in culture and literature. At that time, the famous Indian artist (painter) Beohar Rammanohar Sinha, who had previously decorated the pages of the Indian Constitution, was sent to China in 1957 in an Indian Government partnership to establish a direct cultural and civilization bridge. Prominent Indian scholar Rahul Sankrityayan and politician Natwar Singh were also present, and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan visited the PRC.

Border disputes led to a brief border war between the People’s Republic of China and India on October 20, 1962. The border conflict led to the complete defeat of India as the PRC forced Indian troops to reach 48 kilometers from the Assam plains northeast. It also took strategic positions in the Aksai  and Demchok districts in Ladakh, before announcing a joint military suspension on 21 November. It withdrew to 20 km after its opposition to its rule. India does not agree with the claim.

During the Sino-Indian border war, the Indian Communist Party was accused by the Indian government of being the PRC, and many of its political leaders were arrested. Subsequently, the Communist Party of India (CPI) split with the left-wing faction that formed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964.

Relations in 2020

On May 10, 2020, Chinese and Indian troops clashed in Nathu La, Sikkim, leaving 11 soldiers wounded. After the conflict in Sikkim, tensions between the two countries escalated in Ladakh with a large contingent of troops in many areas. There were 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of PLA soldiers killed on the night of 15/16 June.  China has strengthened troops near the Indian-Tibetan border, Chinese media reported. Both agreements between India and China prohibit the use of firearms in the actual control line; however these conflicts saw the first gun, a warning, explode for decades.

Following his death, Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation, saying “the sacrifices made by our troops will not be in vain”, when the Indian Foreign Minister told the Chinese Foreign Minister that what the Chinese had done in Galwan “. Following the Galwan Valley conflict on June 15, 2020, there were calls renewed throughout India to boycott Chinese goods, however, many Indian government officials said the border conflict would have little effect on trade.

On June 29, the Indian government shut down 59 mobile and desktop applications that were widely used in China in response to growing tensions and growing tensions between the two countries. On August 19, the Times of India reported that India’s foreign ministry had been told that visas for Chinese businessmen, academics, industrialists, and law firms would require a security permit in advance, and the measures were similar to those for long-term employment with Pakistan. On September 19, Indian police arrested an independent journalist for transmitting sensitive information to Chinese experts.

On October 27, the United States and India signed the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation (BECA), which allows for greater information sharing and continued security cooperation, to counter China’s growing military power in the region.

India China Disputes in 2020

Effective May 5, 2020, Chinese and Indian troops engaged in violent acts, face-to-face confrontation and fighting along Sino-Indian borders, including Lake Pangong in Ladakh and the Tibetan Autonomous Region, as well as the border between Sikkim and the Tibetan Independent Region. Further clashes are also taking place in the eastern part of Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Indian and Chinese officers at Nathu La. Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening of the pass is expected to bolster the economy of the region and play a key role in the growing Sino-Indian trade.
credit: wikipedia

In late May, Chinese forces opposed the construction of Indian roads in the Galwan River valley. According to Indian sources, the fighting on 15/16 June 2020 resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and the wounding of 43 Chinese soldiers. Media reports said the soldiers were taken hostage on both sides and released in the next few days while official sources on both sides continued to deny this. A small split from Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra took place in June-July 2020 when a complete evacuation of Pangong Lake north and south of the bank took place in February 2021. Part of the Pangong Lake suspension agreement was the withdrawal of Indian troops from former positions. held between August 29 and September 3 in the Chushul region overlooking China’s territories at Spanggur Gap and Spanggur Tso. As at 31 March 2021, there has been no change in the state of the IAF or PLAAF since the Galwan shooting. On September 7, for the first time in 45 years, a gunshot was fired near the LAC, with both sides blaming each other for the shooting. Indian media also reported that Indian soldiers shot the PLA on August 30.

(Osaka – Japão, 28/06/2019) Presidente da República, Jair Bolsonaro, durante foto de família dos Líderes dos BRICS..Foto: Alan Santos / PR

During this resistance, India strengthened the region with an estimated 12,000 additional personnel, who would assist the Indian Border Roads Organization in completing the construction of Indian infrastructure at the Sino-Indian border. Experts point out that the conflict is China’s first impetus to respond to the Darbuk – Shyok – DBO infrastructure project in Ladakh. China has also significantly improved its infrastructure in these conflicting border regions and continues to do so. The removal of the special state of Jammu and Kashmir, in August 2019, by the Indian government has also worried China.  However, India and China have both maintained that there are adequate ways for both countries to resolve the situation.  This includes many rounds of colonel, brigadier and major debates of positions, meetings of representatives,  ‘Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination’ meetings on China-India Border Affairs’ (WMCC) meetings and liaison between foreign ministers and defense ministers. On February 21, 2021, there was the tenth military commander-general conference.

India-China conflicts upon COVID-19

China undermines South Asia’s balance of power to further its economic and political interests. There is a high risk of continuing to fight, and even war, says the 2018 AsiaGlobal Fellow Amit Wanchoo, Founding Chairman of the HN Wanchoo Trust in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. To preserve peace and prosperity, India, China and Pakistan need to move away from the Himalayan conflict and work together at a negotiating table.

Gwadar Port is the key nexus between the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the two routes of the Belt and Road Initiative
credit: umairadeeb

This year will go down as memorable for both Covid-19 and the conflict. While 2020 remembers the name of a clear vision, economically there is little of that, especially in the Chinese leadership. As a result of the handling of the coronavirus crisis and, in general, its violent foreign policy, Beijing has seen its soft power, considered a measure of global popularity, diminishing globally.

In recent years, China has witnessed a sharp growth in its strong export-led economy, even during the epidemic. But of the 15 most trading partners – the US, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Australia, Canada, UK, Singapore and Russia – there have been 12 partnerships. it is not a good development for the Chinese economy. Even the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing, which is showcasing the US $ 1-trillion global infrastructure development program, will not produce immediate results in China due to the difficult physical environment and government hostility in several countries on its routes.

The Chinese leadership must understand that the world is conquered by negotiations, not dictatorship. When Xi Jinping became Chinese president in 2012, he promised to achieve two goals. The first was to build a moderately prosperous Chinese society and double its individual household production to US $ 10,000 by 2021, a century of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). His second goal was to have a rich and powerful China by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist victory in the civil war and the founding of the People’s Republic. The coronavirus crisis and a series of political flaws, however, have put China on the path to achieving Xi’s vision.

India banned Chinese Apps

India banned 59 chinese apps
credit: https://dnaindia.com

In July, India issued a ban on the banning of 59 Chinese mobile apps including TikTok, Hello, Shareit and WeChat. TikTok, a video sharing app, had more than 120 million users in India, its largest market. Delhi has moved to prevent Chinese companies and even Indian and Chinese affiliated businesses from participating in construction and infrastructure projects. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tightened its grip on Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei and ZTE, which are participating in 5G tests, ordering the state-owned Bharia Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) to accept bids from Chinese retailers.

So far, India has maintained neutrality and avoided direct contact with the US, even rejecting President Donald Trump’s promise to mediate between India and China. But due to the Galwan incident, Modi will find it difficult to take a hand even in Beijing and will now have to align Delhi near Washington. The Prime Minister’s acceptance of Trump’s invitation to join the expanded G7 summit is an indication that this change is already taking place. Going forward, India can strengthen its high-level relations with the US and also improve military ties, which will raise concerns in China.

China claimed ,” COVID 19 began to spread globally”

China said on Friday that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has erupted in various parts of the world. However, it was the only country that reported and acted first, according to media reports.
Dismissing US claims about the discovery of the virus in Wuhan lab in China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying, speaking at a press conference, said: “Coronavirus is a new type of virus as more facts emerge as reports suggest. ”
He added: “We all know that the epidemic broke out in various parts of the world late last year, when China was the first to report the disease, contracted the virus and shared the world in its sequence.
The statement came after United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the Chinese Communist Party of China had exacerbated the coronavirus epidemic by covering it.

Significance in Anthropology

The socio-political atmosphere between India and China is a significant case study in Anthropology. Because of geographic, political, and social variables we can see how the relationship between two governing bodies can effect the behavior of it’s people right down to it’s technology and communication i.e. banning of software and application such as social media. Studying current and past anthropology and elucidate future trends of people and their relationships, and maybe even prevent conflict, which is the hope.

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