Why is India touching China's sore spot? This attitude of Modi 3.0 says a lot

Ananya Shroff
10 Min Read

New Delhi: There has been a change in India's attitude towards China in the last few weeks. This indicates that the Modi government in its third term may take a tough stand against China. Relations between the two countries have been tense since the clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers on the border in 2020. Prime Minister Modi may attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Kazakhstan in the first week of July, where he may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. India seems to be hardening its stand against China shortly before the possible meeting between the two leaders. Let us tell you that after the Galwan clash, the two meetings between Modi and Xi at the G20 summit in Bali in 2022 and the BRICS summit in South Africa a year later did not yield any positive results. Thousands of troops are still deployed on both sides along the India-China border.

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China is pressing to resume flights

China has been pressuring the Indian government to resume direct passenger flights that have been suspended for the past four years, but India is refusing to do so due to the border dispute. According to a recent Reuters report, the Chinese government and airlines have requested the Indian Civil Aviation Authority several times in the past one year to restore direct air connectivity. According to sources, China considers this a major issue.

China's foreign ministry said in a statement to Reuters, “We hope India will work with China to resume direct flights as soon as possible,” adding that resuming flights would be in the interest of both countries. But a senior Indian official familiar with India-China affairs said of China's desire to resume direct flights, “Unless there is peace and tranquility on the border, the rest of the relationship cannot move forward.”

India stands firm on its decision

India is adamant that relations with China will be normal only when the border dispute is resolved. Direct flights between India and China were stopped four months after the corona epidemic spread. Although India lifted the corona restrictions on international air routes a year later and China lifted all corona travel restrictions in early 2023, these flights have not resumed except for some special corona return flights.

Modi's Taiwan bet against China

After the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were announced, Taiwan President Lai Ching-te congratulated Modi on his third consecutive electoral victory and expressed his desire to further strengthen the rapidly growing relations between the two countries. He also emphasized on increasing India-Taiwan cooperation in trade, technology and other areas to maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

Taiwan's president tweeted, “My heartiest congratulations to PM @narendramodi on his election victory. We look forward to further strengthening the rapidly growing Taiwan-India partnership and expanding our cooperation in trade, technology and other areas to contribute to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.” Modi replied, “Thank you for your warm message. We look forward to even closer ties as we work towards mutually beneficial economic and technological partnership.”

China is angry with this move!

This formal conversation between the two leaders angered China, which lodged a protest against India when Modi accepted the congratulatory message of the Taiwanese President. The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged India to oppose Taiwan's political calculations and not violate the One-China principle. China said that it opposes all kinds of official talks between Taiwanese officials and other countries under the “One China Policy”. Let us tell you that India follows the One China Policy like other countries. However, India has never mentioned it publicly since 2010. In such a situation, China sees the growing relations between India and Taiwan as rebellion.

There was also news of changing the names of areas in Tibet

About two weeks ago, news came that India is planning to do something that could anger China. According to a newspaper report, in response to China changing the names of places in Arunachal Pradesh, India is planning to change the names of more than 2 dozen places in China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The army has prepared a list of places whose names will be changed and it will be released soon. The report also said that while choosing the new names, a thorough investigation of history has been done and the opinion of the people living in those areas has also been taken, many of whom oppose the Chinese names. The purpose of this name-changing campaign is to convey a different story on the border from India to the world. This story will be based on strong historical research and the opinion of the people living in those areas. It will be spread in regional and international media.

It is worth noting that China had changed the names of many places in Arunachal Pradesh. In March, China changed the names of 30 places near the LAC, including 11 residential areas, 12 mountains, 4 rivers, 1 lake, 1 pass and a piece of land. This was the fourth time that China arbitrarily changed the names of places in Arunachal Pradesh. India has always rejected this move of China. India says that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and giving a fabricated name will not change this reality.

American leaders allowed to meet Dalai Lama

Just a few days ago, India had allowed several top leaders of the US Parliament to meet the Dalai Lama. Former US Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also among these leaders. The Dalai Lama is the religious leader of Tibet, who currently lives in India. The Chinese government had already opposed this meeting. China considers the Dalai Lama to be trying to separate Tibet from China. During this time, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was also in India. He was in talks with India to work together on security and technology.

Some time ago, the lower house of the US Parliament (House of Representatives) passed a law which was supported by both parties (Republicans and Democrats). The purpose of this law is to put pressure on China to hold talks with the leaders of Tibet. These talks have been stalled since 2010. China would have been even more upset by the fact that after meeting the Dalai Lama, Prime Minister Modi also met the US parliamentary delegation.

India is becoming more vocal against China

India is becoming increasingly vocal against China. Especially on the issue of Tibet, it is trying to build pressure along with America. This indicates that the Tibet issue can heat up once again. India's steps regarding Taiwan and Tibet clearly indicate that it is challenging China's 'One China Policy'. Till now India has refrained from openly opposing this policy. But now it seems that India is giving the message that if China does not understand its border related concerns, then India will also not take care of China's sensitivities.

India is putting pressure on China regarding Tibet and Taiwan

International affairs expert Harsh Pant says that India has once again indicated that it is ready to gradually increase pressure on China on issues like Tibet and Taiwan. He says that India has made it clear that India will not back down from this stance until China accepts India's concerns and sensitivities and respects Indian interests.

Expert Michael Kugelman says that it seems that India is using its relations with the US to put pressure on China. He says that India can show China that it can stop it. Kugelman also said that India seems to be willing to take more risks on the issue of Tibet than before. Some people believe that if PM Modi's victory in the Lok Sabha elections is less than expected, then his government may back down from addressing China's concerns, because his voters may consider it a sign of weakness.

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