The deadlock on military de-escalation in Ladakh continues. It might turn out to be another example of China’s perfidy. India has had sufficient historical experience with China’s use of agreements for buying time and deceiving us. The 2018 agreement for defusing the crisis in Doklam and its subsequent military occupation of the rest of the Doklam plateau is fresh in memory. It should have warned us about the dangers of China getting India to withdraw from a tactically advantageous position at the Kailash Range in Ladakh and then using delay tactics to keep India under pressure.
China’s strategic behaviour can only be interpreted if one views the military moves in Ladakh in the broader perspective of China-US geopolitical rivalry. China’s ambitions that generate its geopolitical compulsions are no longer being concealed. Xi Jinping is claiming that the US and China are now virtually equal powers and it is only a matter of time before China surpasses America economically and, if some Chinese claims are to be believed, even technologically. At the same time, China believes India can be an impediment to its ambitions. But only if India’s partnership with the US exploits a geographic reality steeped in the maritime domain and threatens China’s dreams of predominance at the global and regional geopolitical table.