06 July 2020
For the first time since 1975, skirmishes at the India-China border have resulted in military casualties, marking a critical juncture in bilateral relations.
This is a key moment for the wider Asian region, with states keenly observing China’s behaviour and attempting to discern its intentions. Yet, in his much-anticipated address to the nation on Tuesday (Jun 30), Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained conspicuously silent on China – focusing instead on COVID-19 and social assistance schemes. It may seem like a strange omission, but the Modi government is treading carefully when it comes to this crisis with China, as it has domestic political implications.
It also believes that its policy of quiet diplomacy with China is still the best strategy to pursue at this point. This contradiction between domestic and foreign compulsions will pose a significant challenge for the Modi government and, as it figures out how to navigate this difficult terrain, expect that it will take longer for an amicable settlement to be reached between India and China.
Dr Sinderpal Singh is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the South Asia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 06/07/2020