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Three years after Galwan: Where India-China ties stand

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: International Relations – India-China Relations


Source: IE


Context: The Galwan clash was a significant event in India-China relations.

  • The clash resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, marking the first time Indian Army personnel were killed on the Line of Actual Control since 1975.
  • Both sides have engaged in multiple rounds of negotiations and have managed to disengage at five “friction pointsalong the Line of Actual Control, establishing demilitarized buffer zones in those areas.
Areas of CooperationDescription
Political and Diplomatic relationsExchange of views and establishment of friendship groups between China and India.
Economy and TradeGrowth in trade volume and bilateral economic cooperation between China and India.
Investment & BankingOpening of branches of Indian and Chinese banks in each other’s countries.
E-business visaIntroduction of a visa category to facilitate business travel between China and India.
Science & TechnologyJoint research workshops and promotion of cooperation in science and technology innovation.
DefenceJoint anti-terrorist exercises and defence consultations to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation.
People-to-People ExchangesHigh-level meetings and cultural exchanges to strengthen people-to-people ties.
Education relationsEducational cooperation, scholarship programs, and exchange agreements between India and China.


Areas of ContentionDescription
Chinese InitiativesIndia’s concerns and suspicions regarding Chinese initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean.
Increasing presence in the Indian OceanChina’s policy of building ports and naval bases in countries surrounding India’s maritime reaches, which India sees as encirclement.
Border DisputeDisputed border areas between India and China, including the Western, Middle, and Eastern sectors.
River Water DisputeChina’s construction of dams in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra River leads to concerns over water sharing.
Dalai Lama and Tibet issueIndia’s support for the Tibetan government in exile led by the Dalai Lama, is not acceptable to China.
Presence in South AsiaChina’s increasing investments and trade with countries in South Asia challenged India’s traditional influence in the region.
Trade imbalanceIndia’s trade deficit with China indicates difficulties in competing with Chinese manufactured goods.
China’s protectionist policiesObstacles faced by Indian companies in entering the Chinese market due to protectionist measures.
China’s Support to PakistanChina’s support for Pakistan through investments and backing on various issues affect India’s relationship with Pakistan.
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, hindering India’s nuclear ambitions.
Digital SecurityConcerns over Chinese investments in India’s knowledge economy, raising privacy and data security issues.


Persisting issues:

  • The creation of buffer zones has raised concerns among Indian experts, who view them as a loss of territory for India.
  • These zones have allowed the Chinese to monitor Indian forces’ movements and establish infrastructure in the region. India has also been rapidly developing its infrastructure in response.



Despite ongoing engagement between the two sides, there is a fundamental difference in their perspectives on the border issue. India insists that the border situation must be resolved before normalization of bilateral relations can occur, while China believes that the issues have been resolved and suggests moving forward.


Insta links:

India-China relations