Home / News / India /  India-China face-off: It’s time to stand up

Mint captures voices of people across the country who want to counter China’s aggression with economic, democratic and military solutions. Laden with emotion and imbued with confidence, these views reflect the strength of a proud nation that is clear about its sovereignty, democratic advantage, and will to achieve its dreams without denying anyone theirs.

How India emerges from this crisis will influence its international image and long-term security. China only understands strength. India, through its actions that extend beyond the military realm, must show that China seriously miscalculated in starting a border conflict with it.

Brahma Chellaney, strategic analyst

Border skirmishes, including those with proxy states like Pakistan and Nepal, should be seen in the context of China facing global heat. It is losing reputation as industries move out. India should consider these changes in circumstances while responding. China has always considered India a major competitor.

Ashish Chauhan, BSE CEO

Today, when the world is trying to move out of China, we need to leverage our strength as a consumer market so industries feel welcomed in India. We are big in auto manufacture and must ensure ease of doing business and infrastructure is strengthened so that we become big manufacturers in other sectors.

Nilesh Shah, Financial advisor

Skirmishes at the border have political, economic, diplomatic and cultural consequences. Any step requires deliberation. Restraint and right decision is key. As citizens, we can only support the Prime Minister by empathising with the country’s political leadership and supporting our defence forces.

Rajesh Narain Gupta, Lawyer

It is time we promoted local investments. Today, the footwear sector depends on China to fill domestic requirements. With the covid pandemic and now the current tension on border, there is a need to promote manufacturing in India. All we require is a bit of tax incentive and availability of finance.

Punit Bhardwaj, Footwear trader

This standoff is a direct outcome of BJP’s failed national security and foreign policy. The government must take the opposition into confidence. After 18 meetings with the Chinese President and five visits to China, the PM should explain why the India-China relationship has reached this low point.

Jaiveer Shergill, Politician

As a white-collared worker, what I can do to support our soldiers and the government in these difficult times of the pandemic, economic slowdown and border turmoil is to be more productive, contribute to the economic recovery plan by increasing output, innovate to create new jobs, and upskill.

Monica Jasuja, Product strategist

India needs to stand up to China because it’s a known fact that China respects strength. It is time to demonstrate strategic signalling and that can be achieved by having a robust presence at sea. We have an advantage over them at sea and especially on the western seaboard of India, and we should make full use of this.

Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan

Let our soldiers not pay for others’ failures.. The army is always the last resort. These matters have to be handled politically and diplomatically. The Chinese premier was here recently and we went all out to make him happy—or did something get missed in early morning “beach cleaning" PR soirées?

Samir Dalwai, Paediatrician

We uninstall Chinese apps, and stop buying their products—then what? Instead of resorting to such optics, it’s time that we act as “One Nation" by prioritizing self-sufficiency, investing in R&D, strengthening the public sector, and moving beyond imitation or improvisation to true innovation at scale.

Pavan Soni, Innovation evangelist

Boycotts and whisper campaigns are not the way to hit out at China or any nation. We have to beat them like Japan beat America. Post WWII, Japanese companies went out and bought over American companies. This is the way to beat China. Be better than them. And buy their companies out.

Dominic Costabir, Hospitality professional

Full-scale war in a nuclear powered world is ill-advised. It would make little economic sense. If we hold our ground without aggression, we also have the moral high ground. We need neither panic nor warmongering. Faith in bilateral talks and rapid de-escalation has to be the way forward. It’s best for both sides.

Shraddha Chaudhary, Lecturer

Typically, in times like these when animosity with neighbouring countries is stirred, people in general veer towards the ideas of “patriotism" and “nationalism". However, this should not be used as a weapon to benefit a particular section of our society or push certain agendas.

Hemant Manjani, Advocate

A border dispute during a pandemic is not just a coincidence but a result of competing economic ambitions and political structures. War hysteria helps both nations exert political control during a major economic and health crisis in their respective countries, but one of them has a clear upper hand.

Gaurang Sanghvi, Digital business head

India is a rising power looking for a greater say in world affairs. It is located in a region that China is seeking to dominate in its great power quest. If we succumb to Chinese threats, it will adversely affect our standing, in the world and more specifically in South Asia. There is no option but to show firm resolve.

Deependra Singh Hooda, Retd Army general

In the world of realpolitik, based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations, a velvet glove is effective when it is backed up by an iron fist. Economic might and cultural influence work best when reinforced with courage to deal with a bully. It is time to stand up to China.

T.N. Hari, HR professional

We can stand up to China as we have demand for goods manufactured indigenously. But we need to bring down manufacturing costs to be more competitive. The price of spare parts in India is 10x the price at which we import from China. To compete with China, we need infrastructure and a business-friendly policy.

Vipin Nijhawan, Toy manufacturer

The time has come for India to stand up to China and send out a message that our territorial integrity is non-negotiable. Having said that, this escalation of military hostilities will not serve either nation any purpose, especially when both countries are locked in an entrenched war with covid-19.

Prathap Kumar, Doctor

Devastated by covid-19, India can’t afford a war. Both premiers must talk urgently and de-escalate. Chunks of our economy, from pharma to 18 unicorn startups, depend on China supply chains or investments. Increasing trade—tech services exports, inward investment—will help keep war at bay.

Prasanto K Roy, Public policy consultant

IN the near future, China will dominate the international economic sphere, so India must stand up to China. India must reduce reliance on Chinese imports and investment by developing technological and R&D industries for the future. India could also engage in more trade with other countries.

Rehan Mathur, Student

The problem that both India and China face today is a consequence of the rise of nationalism in the two countries. The Indian psyche is yet to recover from the humiliation inflicted on us by China in the 1962 war, and this colours our foreign policy in relation to China and our neighbours to this day.

Manoj Menon, Lawyer

Ladakh has seen many face-offs. India is reeling from covid-19 and staring at huge economic losses. This is not a time to stand up to China showcasing our strength. Our priority should be to fix the economic situation and resolve issues through dialogue. Retaliatory action means going back 70 years.

Phuntsog Dorjay, Tour operator

India needs to stand up to an intruder. The very act of intrusion belies peaceful talks and dialogues. Having said this, full-fledged traditional war is not an option. It can be counter-productive given their superiority of weapons. We must engage in other forms of retaliatory attack.

Lt Col R.P Dhankher, Retired Army officer

We need to counter China on several fronts. They need to realise that we are not the nation we were in the 1960s. India should leverage all good relations with other countries and put pressure on China, whether diplomatic or economic pressure or a show of strength on the borders without war.

Gaurav Jain, PR professional

India shouldn’t succumb to pressure from any country. We have never believed in cross border fight but we can’t tolerate disrespect for our borders. We should resolve this diplomatically. We should stop using Chinese products. In the short term, it will be inconvenient but in the long term we will become self reliant.

Mantu Tiwari, IT professional

Mutual respect is a must for any healthy relationship. India should play to its strengths of wide and deep diplomatic partnerships in this connected world, our intellectual superiority across various sectors, and the promise of an economy for the future. China needs to feel it’s in their interest to be friends with us

Abhijit Avasthi, Entrepreneur

India cannot stand up to China as there is a domestic challenge with a massive public health issue. There are also problems on three fronts, China, Nepal and Pakistan. There is no question that India should stand up to China but the spread of covid-19 is at a very critical stage right now.

Manisha Priyam, Political analyst

China is being a bully knowing its military prowess and trade power. There is a feeling of helplessness about whether to escalate or not. War is not a solution for India as we are already reeling under economic crisis induced by the pandemic. While there is a pressure to react, a war would hurt livelihoods.

Abhishek Asthana, Twitter influencer

This is also an absolute failure of diplomacy. This kind of situation has never been seen before. If China starts encroaching, India will not be able to respond in military terms. There is a lack of a strong opposition in the country right now, otherwise this situation could have created an internal crisis.

Abhay Kumar Dubey, Political analyst

Chinese competition has stunted the growth of Indian players in several industries. Chinese companies are unfairly helped by huge subsidies from their government. This value erosion hurts Indian equity and mutual fund investors who do not benefit from the profits earned by Chinese companies in India.

Suresh Sadagopan, Financial advisor

Do not part with even an inch of land and cede to China. This is a good opportunity for us to show how strong India is. We must not be looked upon as a weak neighbour. We were humiliated in 1962 and we cannot and should not face another humiliation. Fight them militarily and economically.

B S Ajai Kumar, Doctor

India should proactively reach out to businesses that may be looking at leaving China and approach this as a company would. It should look at setting up specialist teams to deliver tailored pitches and provide 360-degree perspectives with legal, financial, strategy and sectoral insights.

Ankit Sahni, Commercial lawyer

Startups and mature organizations need to partner and transition into innovation in India. Startups are strapped for funding and larger firms can help. But this is a gradual shift. If we collaborate and unite, that’s the best way to stand up to any country. It’s a way to balance out the power and leadership.

Sanil Sachar, Entrepreneur

It’s time for industry captains to be Indian citizens first, entrepreneurs later. Currently, China neither seems trustworthy nor worthy of bilateral trade. An abrupt stoppage of total trade may not be feasible, but a phased, time-bound reduction of trade must start. Modern day wars are not fought only at the borders.

Anurag Katriar, Restaurateur

The China-India clash during this pandemic requires a peaceful, intelligent and diplomatic fix than a military one. It is time for us to stand up against bullying of China while maintaining status quo and peace. Do it through diplomacy where local needs of people on the borders are not overlooked.

Sumedha Priyadarshini, Research scholar

Both countries need to create a clear line of communication. They are behaving like estranged lovers. India has not been able to identify China’s true intent. Sweeping these broader issues under the carpet will only result in more lives lost. It’s time to stand up, take a stance and act.

Sharath.S., IT professional

If China senses further weakness, the border issue will escalate for decades. We cannot afford war, with the pandemic, recession, climate change and job crisis. Even if we could, war is wrong. So a speedy diplomatic resolution, involving any remaining allies, and real information, is a must.

Samit Basu, Author

India should use this incident to review its national security strategy to abolish outdated principles such as strategic autonomy or non-alignment. China is strong, so when we are facing the dragon, we will need not just our improved defence structure but also constant and stable support from our allies.

Roger C. Liu, Political science professor

Indian companies need to make a conscious and strategic decision to reduce, if not eliminate, dependence on Chinese sourcing. Consumers are looking to reduce use of Chinese brands and in the coming months, they are also going to start examining whether a company is funded by Chinese investors.

Avinash Godkhindi, Founder

We cannot and should not let our domestic politics cast a shadow on our defence and foreign policies. We should stand united by not resorting to rumour mongering and sharing unconfirmed reports. India has and will always stand for peace but without compromising our sovereignty or giving an inch.

Amit Khanna, Writer-filmmaker

Our industry is dependant on critical Chinese imports. If attempts are made to reduce imports from China, it will hit our exports too, especially at a time when we want to improve our own economy. If we really go that far without looking for alternative import routes, there will be implications.

C. Rangarajan, Former RBI governor

The open market trade model that went on for decades will no longer be easy for China to access. There will be tariff barriers and consumer revulsion. India will be careful about the areas China wants to invest in. There is a feeling that the technology sector has unduly high exposure to Chinese capital.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Parliamentarian

The scale of ingress by People’s Liberation Army is unique. It is clearly an organised attempt to push for a change in the geography of the LAC. But this tragedy will signal to both sides how serious the situation is… that it is time to genuinely disengage. There will be public pressure in both countries.

Rudra Chaudhuri, War studies scholar

We should not ban any Chinese investment in startups provided it is not a strategic acquisition. The Chinese also did the same thing — they allowed American investors to make money in their startups but hardly any Chinese startup is owned by a large US company. We can play the same game.

Rajesh Sawhney, Investor

I don’t think Chinese investor sentiment will be impacted. But India, in order to protect its own strategic interests, should frame clear rules about which sectors are off-limits for Chinese investors. The government should also focus on protecting Indian IP, especially in areas where Chinese investments are high

Shriram Subramanian, Advisor

It’s sad that 20 soldiers have died defending the country. There may be more. An economic dispute with China should not worry us; we are more than capable of producing the same things indigenously. I don’t think the situation will escalate now because there are other foreign powers involved.

Deependra Kashiva, Sponge iron maker

Just boycotting some apps won’t make a difference. India needs to develop infrastructure and policies to welcome the exodus of manufacturers from China in the aftermath of the pandemic. Once this happens, the internal power struggle would break China and it will disintegrate like the former USSR.

Anshuman Mishra, Delivery manager

The ongoing India-China military standoff is likely to be resolved with diplomatic heavy lifting. In the long term, PLA will return, just like it did in Doklam. Given that India is a vibrant democracy, its leadership is more concerned about ‘victories’ whereas China is focused on territorial gains.

Happymon Jacob, Professor

We’re facing covid-19 on one side and another foe, China, on the other. China has been needling India for years. We responded quickly to Uri and Kupwara. We cannot have two different responses to similar aggression. India needs to give befitting reply to China, both at military and economic level.

Capt. Anup Sharma, Retired Army officer

The world is hyper-connected and there is a part of China in all products and services. So, to ban Chinese products will not be economically viable. Also, jingoism on the origin of a product is old school. It is important to have a political resolution of the conflicts but the politics must be divorced from the economy.

Harish Bijoor, Brand consultant

India has more friends in the developed world than ever before because we buy more from them. A buyer always has the upper hand. If we double what we buy from China, but demand a quid pro quo, we can create a win-win relationship and resolve such disputes.

Raj Bhatia, Marketing consultant

India should hold ground in the Himalayan boundaries where we are better placed. We should also shift the conflict to areas of weakness of China, like South China Sea and Taiwan. We should convey, “If you poke us here, we will poke you there. We may hurt, but we will hurt you too."

Col. Rajiv Bhargava, Retired Army officer

We must respond to the evolving situation in an agile manner that’s aligned with our ethos and ambition. We have to respond quickly on all dimensions—diplomatic, political, economic and military. The world is watching our manoeuvres. Indians across all walks of life are concerned about our self-esteem and image.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO

It is important for us to reduce our dependence on Chinese products in the long term. This would require the government to develop business-friendly policies for manufacturers to deliver the right quality at the right price, and consumers to learn to choose local products.

Akshaye Rathi, Film Exhibitor

The government has goofed up by responding to aggression aimed at altering the LAC by force. Any knee-jerk adventure would distract from the fight on health and economic fronts. A mature response would be to give the government a free hand to respond through economic, diplomatic and military means.

Yogendra Yadav, Social scientist

Many people respect and admire China for what it has achieved. A great power has to behave like one. They have to learn to be generous and accommodating. Already, Chinese investments in Indian startups require government approval. Investments in the telecommunications sector will be watched.

Mohandas Pai, Chairman

Though China is very strong in terms of both economic and military power, we should not buckle under pressure. We must stand up to their aggression. We need to simultaneously push diplomacy and international pressure, and strengthen India’s excellent armed forces.

H Sudarshan Ballal, Doctor

We have to re-look our rules of engagement. There should be clear guidelines. We have to stand firm. We cannot let them get away with bullying tactics. Our information system needs to be improved. The country does not know what is happening. The government needs to call out China on its statements.

Abhimanyu Mehrotra, Retired Navy officer

We have a lesson to learn from the Doklam standoff. This time, there have been casualties. We should understand why China is asserting itself. They are being blamed for covid-19 and may be trying to divert attention. India needs to keep a strong stance, and build international pressure on this issue.

Jaskaran Singh Waraich, Defence expert

The world let China become a unipolar manufacturing giant. China views India as competition and wants to keep India unstable geopolitically so that its attention is diverted from industrial development. If we do not build our capacities now, it would be unfortunate. Make in India is cheaper than fighting a war.

Sanjay Sabharwal, Managing director

Most developed economies are encouraging India to take the role of regional leader against China’s authoritarianism. India needs to incentivise movement of investments from China to India. We should raise trade barriers, minimise import of Chinese goods and cut technology support to Chinese entities.

Dhrubajyoti Hajra, Consultant

We should stand up to China, but the only way to do it is by becoming more competitive ourselves and readying other commerce alternatives. We can’t just fight by un-installing TikTok and other Chinese apps. We need to upskill our manufacturers with better technology to compete at a global level.

Nitika Sonkhiya, Entrepreneur

China needs to stop acting like a tyrant with its neighbours. India has done an excellent job of standing up to its bullying tactics. India has to lend its support to all countries that have been harassed by China and impose sanctions to curtail that country’s influence on the world stage.

Vijay Deepak, Businessman

The Galwan Valley attack is not something the world can afford. In this time of covid-19, we can’t do this to each other. China has left enough of a dent in the world economy with the spread of the novel coronavirus. With this attack, it has proved its intentions are far more malicious.

Jaybrota Das, Content strategist

Military action is always detrimental. Both countries are facing domestic challenges including economic fallout from coronavirus. In the startup world, there is concern about Chinese ownership and funding. While we must be open to global finance driving growth, we should look at a self-reliant India.

Gaurav Chopra, CEO

We must avoid chest thumping. India must use her finest diplomats and build international pressure to defuse the present crisis. The country must try to isolate China internationally which is possible given the post-covid shift. In Asia, it can build common cause with Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Puspita Roy, Educationist

We cannot continue force-fitting laws built for a goods economy in a global online world. We have a great opportunity at hand today, where Indian startups can go global. We may face short term sourcing challenges, especially in manufacturing, but innovation and creativity thrives under constraints.

Ankit Oberoi, Entrepreneur

Without a doubt we must stand up to China. But before that India needs to be a strong manufacturing hub and strengthen our MSMEs as we depend on that country for majority of our products. Else, we will collapse. Investment in indigenous industry is the need of the hour.

Prashanth R Reddy, Surgeon

Also Read Mint Editorial | India speaks up

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