Chinese transgressions along the LAC indicate a significant breakdown of long-standing bilateral agreements and can be considered a tipping point. The situation will likely result in a variegated set of cold wars between India and China.
Prime Minister Modi’s statement at the All Party Meeting on 19 June ended up casting doubt on India’s own behaviour and claims along the LAC and actually encourages further Chinese assertiveness all along disputed sectors on the LAC as well as the temptation to open up fresh disputes.
What should be concerning in the wake of Galwan and the reported loss of lives also of Chinese troops, is that Beijing will now be particularly prone to viewing any Indian action as provocative and seek to respond in an overwhelming manner as a way of saving face.
The deaths of Indian soldiers along the LAC at Galwan is a watershed moment in India-China ties. If the relationship is not to spin out of control, India needs to develop military, economic and intellectual muscle certainly but also adopt transparency and openness to questions as a central plank of the reworking of its China policy.
Quad 2.0 has proceeded more determinedly even if slowly but the Covid-19 pandemic now offers an opportunity to step up the pace. The issue now is of ensuring that Chinese pressure does not derail its development yet again.