Year 2020 will go down in history as the Year of the Coronavirus, which started with the confident march of Covid-19 from Wuhan with cover fire provided by the World Health Organization. While the world was busy battling the virus, China unleashed its Navy on Japan and in the South China Sea, the Air Force on Taiwan, and the PLA on Indian soldiers—which of course took a disastrous turn for the rampaging Chinese. President Xi Jinping's warriors acting as <a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/china-enters-vietnam-waters-bullying-in-south-china-sea-rises-3144.html"><strong>reinforcements to the virus</strong> </a>in all these locations.
The border dispute, imposed upon India by its larger and unreasonable neighbor, has shattered many dreams and razed many myths. Prominent among the dreams to be shattered are the chimera of an Asian century and the Sino-India bonhomie. The latter came with regular warnings—Doklam and other incursions—but we chose to ignore those for the sake of good neighborly relations.
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What has been touted as an Asian century for over a decade has undoubtedly seen China's rise and to a lesser extent India's. Though modest, India's rise too has happened. With China's global aspirations, and the implementation of those aspirations through brute force, the communist country has made it clear that it was focused solely on a Chinese century, not an Asian one. China's expansionist policy oft tried on its Asian neighbors effectively buries the Asian dream.
The other dream was <a href="https://indianarrative.com/opinion/70-years-of-india-china-diplomacy-suggest-caution-ahead-479.html"><strong>the 70-years of India China relations</strong> </a>and the bonhomie between the two leaders—Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. The Indian Prime Minister had invested considerable time on all those handshakes, ear-to-ear smiles and meetings with his Chinese counterpart. After the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and many more PLA troops in a barbaric and strategically inexplicable assault by the Chinese, relations may not be the same again. The whole idea of salami slicing and encroaching upon others' lands is as medieval as the Chinese troops assault with nail-studded-clubs. For India, dancing with the dragon was the other dream broken.
The Galwan Valley incident also demolishes a few global myths, including the invincibility of China as an economic giant and a military power. It has gone a long way in reducing the terror of China. Despite years of appeasement, the Galwan Valley incident made India bulldoze the invincibility that China had assiduously built around itself. However, it is important to add a caveat here—if India does not manage to persuade China to vacate Indian territory, all of the above gets negated.
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The myth of a fearsome power which issues dictates and other nations observe is fading away. All through the Galwan Valley conflict, Chinese spokespersons kept a relentless barrage of threats and 'advice', trying to intimidate India into accepting their lies and bullying. The military stand-off and the measured economic retaliation put paid to all that. The myth that India cannot stand up to China—a big military and economic power has been shattered. That superpower image lies in tatters as China beats a retreat with spokespersons softening their tone.
Barring Pakistan, no one believes that Indian troops attacked the PLA. Again barring Pakistan, everyone agrees that more Chinese soldiers lost their lives. China knows this but can't acknowledge it publicly.
The Indian Army says around 43 Chinese troops were killed while an American intelligence report suggests around 35 Chinese soldiers were killed. <a href="https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jun/29/retired-and-hurt-pla-veterans-could-become-a-force/"><strong>A Chinese dissident says</strong> </a>that China lost more soldiers in Galwan Valley than India but will not acknowledge as it fears revolt from PLA veterans. The Galwan Valley incident reminded Indians to shift the benchmark from the 1962 war to the 1967 Nathu La and Cho La battles where China was bruised badly in a battle it started. The Galwan Valley incident also helped India <a href="https://indianarrative.com/india/1967-the-year-when-india-taught-china-a-lesson-3065.html"><strong>retell the Nathu La and Cho La story</strong> </a>to take off the PLA sheen.
China's economic invincibility has taken a beating. For a country which was avoiding antagonizing China, India has begun to erect barriers over investment inflows and has banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok over spying concerns. Now we hear that other countries are banning Chinese apps. India is reducing Chinese imports and stocks seem to be piling up at the borders, but this space needs more watching. <a href="https://indianarrative.com/world/chinese-hegemony-sparks-global-protests-calls-to-boycott-china-products-4379.html"><strong>The nationwide anger</strong> </a>against China is leading even state governments to keep Chinese companies out of billion-dollar power and infrastructure projects.
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India is showing the way to the world to boycott Chinese companies. Smaller nations in Africa and South East Asia are beginning to stand up and tell China that its Belt and Road Initiative projects are profligate. The monolith project, spanning across the world is beginning to bite the communist nation as nations find themselves in a colonial-style debt trap.
It doesn't stop here. Nations are not buying the Chinese line that India is the aggressor. The navies of India and Japan held a joint exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Japanese ambassador to Delhi said his country opposes the unilateral change in the status quo along the Indian border. Top American officials have extended support to India—right up to President Donald Trump, who has openly condemned Chinese aggression. Even France has shown solidarity and plans to hold joint patrols with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region.
China has made a strategic blunder by intruding into Indian territory—where its lost soldiers, lost India as a giant market and lost the goodwill of a nation. India's actions prove that China the hegemon can be beaten at its own game and therein India shatters a glass ceiling in Sino-Indian relations..