Opinion | India should deploy naval power to acquire leverage over China
This would send a calibrated signal to Beijing that New Delhi could tilt the power balance in areas of Chinese vulnerability
My argument in these pages over the past month has been that India cannot deter Chinese expansionism in the Himalayas unless we show credible capacity to hurt China’s interests elsewhere in its contested neighbourhood where it is vulnerable. After the skirmishes of the past couple of months, Indian and Chinese troops are in a process of disengagement in eastern Ladakh, but we should not be surprised if China refuses to go back to the pre-April 2020 position. New Delhi should not accept anything short of that, but Beijing will count on our political leadership’s reluctance to escalate military tensions to get away with its gains. Only when New Delhi shows a willingness to use India’s capability to tilt the balance away from China in theatres that Beijing considers core to its interests will its leaders be more amenable to maintaining the status quo along our land frontiers.