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.
China’s influence in Nepal has grown in recent years but in many instances, the Chinese have merely stepped into breaches created either by India’s inability to keep its promises or by its insensitivity.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the name “Wuhan” has become much better known in India than it ever was for the April 2018 informal summit between Modi and Xi in that city. It remains to be seen which of these two legacies from Wuhan will last in India-China relations.
Structural problems between India and China are unlikely to be resolved by two leaders having ‘informal’ dialogues or meetings without agendas.
The Indian and Chinese governments have set their ties a very low bar of achievement talking essentially soft issues like cultural exchanges which are low-hanging fruit but which are unlikely to help repair in a hurry the high degree of bilateral political mistrust
There is little that actually changes on the ground on the LAC between India and China despite the latter’s rhetoric. It could also be reasonably argued that a change in the status of J&K is not a major concern for China in so far as it involves Pakistan.