What is the current conflict between China and India?

Why is there tension on the borders?

It is a common misconception that the tensions ferment at the border and then it reaches the capitals. That never is the case.

The primary duty of a government is to give a decent life to its citizens. And that requires money. Money, which is raised through industries and services. India and China are two of the biggest economies in the world today, and by 2050, China would become the biggest economy with India coming at the second number.

I have lived in Europe and North America and the Made in China has completely overwhelmed me. There are hardly anything that you buy, that is not Made in China. In contrast to that, this laptop that I bought from India, my mobile which I bought from India, my cloths and other accessories are still Made In India. China sees India as a huge untapped market and wants to flood its good with it, however the Indian government has not budged till now and there are still a lot of trade restriction, despite the trade balance tilted in favour of China by an amount of $50B.

Also to sustain the current economic growth, many growth engines are required which keep driving Chinese and Indian economies. China has come up with Belt And Road Initiative for this, in which dozens of nations participated.

By Lommes - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

However two nations, . This was a direct challenge to Chinese plans of monopolizing itself in the world economy. Having two nations who do not budge to the demands of China and do not become its subjects is both an economic as well as political risk to it.

The first step to take care of this would be to part away these two nations, that is, push Bhutan out from the Indian influence. China has done it successfully in Nepal and now it has started to make moves with Bhutan.

China had stopped building roads in such sectors after an agreement in 2012 and hence it very well knew that tensions will arise when it again starts building a road in Dokalam. This is what he expected to happen

China will make a road
Bhutan will register a complaint with India.
India will register a diplomatic complaint with China.
China will ignore the complaint the build the road anyway.
Bhutan will feel cheated that India didn’t help it.
China will offer a good deal to Bhutan.
Bhutan will start siding with China.
Indians understood this plan and instead of following a step (3), it sent its soldiers to Bhutan (which it can, given Bhutan is a protectorate), and pushed back the Chinese and stopped the road construction.

This step crashed the Chinese plans and infuriated them. At the back foot, China has started to speak in harsh, provocative tone and as well as flex its muscles with repeated military exercises. Till now it has done an Air Force exercise, an Army exercise and a Paratroopers exercise.

The tensions in India-Chinese borders started to grow since 2009 and since then, India has been preparing its Eastern front. Today there are 200K soldiers deployed, including a newly raised mountain strike corps, forward air fields are activated, supersonic high precision missiles are deployed and light weight long range guns (howitzers) deployed. This is the prime reason you don’t see a verbal response anymore from the Indian establishment because it knows that a Chinese military attack can be repelled without much of a fuss.

Chinese side on the other hand has recently internationalized this issue after telling diplomats of the other countries of the mischief of India. These diplomats have expressed their concerns to India and till now India is unmoved.

The Way Forward:

India can either back off and push Bhutan to Chinese mercy, or take a stand irrespective of a few skirmishes and save its economy from being rolled over by the Chinese. If Bhutan goes to the Chinese influence, the impact on Indian economy will be huge and it will also be a huge risk for India’s security as then China will have even better access to the 7 North Eastern states of India and with time even they can fall.

China has a lot of stake right now and if it lets go this time, it might have to make many expensive arrangements to come up with new plans. Also, the other nations which are having border disputes with China will have India as their role model which China just cannot allow.

There are three possible outcomes:

Both armies pull back, road cancelled: The status quo will return but it will be a Chinese defeat. Hence China will not back off without good economic compensation. Very less likely.
Localized Skirmish: China will try to use force to push back India and a small skirmish,  will take place and whoever makes most gains in the initial 5–10 days will win. Likely
Full Scale War: This is less likely as well, but it cannot be discounted. In such a scenario, China will release the pressure in Uttarakhand (most probably) or Ladakh/Arunachal Pradesh. In sync with that, Pakistan will escalate the tensions in LoC and might even open a front in Kashmir as well. India will have to deal with wars at two fronts and if it is able to resist for even 5 days, it will win.
The Indian government doesn’t have to use public talk to solve this issue and it is dealing pretty well till now. The Chinese government also knows the challenges it will face in its western front in case it tries military approach.

This will stay tense for a few more weeks or even months before solution is reached. As Indian citizens, we all need to be aware that current muscle flexing is just psy-ops in modern warfare and just trust our forces