Instead of maturing over the years, Sino-Indian relations seem to be going the India-Pakistan way. Despite the understanding in the form of the McMahon Line, treaties and confidence-building agreements, relations with China suffer from a trust deficit on the ground. A protracted dispute looks likely.

China has focused on improving trade relations with India but failed (or just disregarded) the need to resolve the border problem. The main reason is the total disdain Beijing has shown for New Delhi in the diplomatic, political and military domains. The Indian response during the 2017 Doklam standoff and the resoluteness of Indian Army in eastern Ladakh in June have not gone down easily in the Chinese gut.

The events leading to the present standoff between India and China are in many ways unprecedented. The 3,488-km border, usually referred to as the Line of Actual Control has never been at such heightened state of tension and on the verge of breaking out into an all-out war, even if it is limited in scope to the Eastern Ladakh sector.

Peace has not been disturbed since the 1962 Sino-India war. Both the armies have enjoyed great bonhomie for decades due to well-regulated conflict-resolution mechanism along the LAC. It is indeed very difficult...

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