When military commanders from China and India sat at the negotiating table on Monday night in an attempt to de-escalate border tensions, Gideon Rachman, a columnist for the Financial Times, published an article entitled “India picks a side in the new cold war,” arguing “it is folly for China to drive its rival into America’s arms.”
Border disputes between China and India did not appear overnight. There was a time when tensions posed a greater danger between the two. India did not become dependent on any other country then, and would be far-fetched to argue that New Delhi would be forced to choose sides amid the latest border clash this time.
China has no intention to spark a border conflict which could lead to war. The clash in the Galwan Valley was triggered by provocations from the Indian side. Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi admitted that “nobody has intruded into our border.”
People like Rachman have overestimated the charm of US arms. We see countries and regions in the arms of the US, committed to siding with the US and willing to serve the American interests. Australia, Canada, and the island of Taiwan can be counted among them. But they either are trading their interests or sovereignty to the US, or have no sovereignty at all (in the case of Taiwan), with their interests being controlled by the US. And, like it or not, they have to dance to the US’ tune every now and then.