Sino-Indian relation: New element of tension is 'Tibet Act 2020'

 

In mid-June last year, unarmed clashes broke out between Chinese and Indian troops in the Galwan Valley along the Indo-China Line of Control in eastern Ladakh, India

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the clashes. After the incident, both sides deployed heavy weapons along the entire Ladakh border and northeast of Arunachal Pradesh.

 The tense situation that has arisen with this is initiating a visible shift in geopolitics in South Asia.


This new geopolitical equation in South Asia is ignited by China's Tibet-adjacent Nepal, Bhutan and even Bangladesh. 

Bangladesh continues to strike a balance between neighbouring India and China, but in the case of Nepal, the change is noticeable. 

Nepal is gradually getting closer to China and China and India are practically pulling the strings with Nepal in South Asia. Nepal-China relations are at the closest level in the last five years. 




Nepal is connected to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China, as well as to the Trans-Himalayan Multipurpose Communication Network. This has strengthened Nepal's communication and economic relations with China. 

In the meantime, relations with India deteriorated somewhat as Nepal released a new map. Even before the change in Nepal's internal politics, the Sino-Indian race was noticeable.

In a word, the geopolitical changes and military activities of China and India have put the countries of South Asia in a precarious position.

For years, India has been trying to build a strategic relationship with the United States. This initiative gained momentum during the Donald Trump administration.

 Through this, India, as an ally of the United States, enters the whirlpool of economic, trade and geopolitical competition with China. The Indo-Pacific Alliance is an anti-China military alliance in the region.

 Since India's accession to the alliance, Sino-Indian relations have deteriorated rapidly. 

Some of which manifested itself in the conflict between the eastern Ladakh border and the subsequent increase in military power on the border between the two countries.

This new tension in the subcontinent is being considered as deeper than the tension created during the 1962 Sino-Indian war. 

Behind this tension in the subcontinent is the strategic position of the United States surrounding the region. 

This new geopolitical equation has become visible in the subcontinent in the context of the Trump administration's aggressive anti-China policy.

In the wake of Trump's defeat in the US election and the Democrats' rise to power, it was speculated that China's policy might change somewhat during the Biden administration and that tensions in South Asia could be eased. But that hope seems futile. 


In the wake of Trump's defeat in the US election and the Democrats' rise to power, it was speculated that China's policy might change somewhat during the Biden administration and that tensions in South Asia could be eased. But that hope seems futile. 

The Trump administration recently passed a bill signing the Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2020 (TPSA) after it was approved by the US Congress. The initial cost of the project is about 400 million USD.

The main theme of TPSA-2020 is the election of the successor of the 14th Dalai Lama, the head of government and religious head of independent Tibet, in Dharamsala, India, and the establishment of a US consulate in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. 

China has so far not allowed the United States to open a consulate there. On the other hand, China has already elected the 11th Lama in Tibet as its own.

 About one hundred thousand Tibetans who took refuge in India were not accepted. These Tibetans are staying in India with the 14th Dalai Lama after the armed revolt against China in Tibet in 1959. 

It may be recalled that the Sino-Indian war in 1962 took place in the context of the Dalai Lama's asylum in India after the failed coup attempt in Tibet in 1959.

 In that war, India was defeated and Aksai Chin fell to China. Since that war, China has not officially recognized India's current border with Tibet.


The current US bill states that the United States will not allow Chinese interference in Tibet's religious sphere and will not allow China to establish a consulate in a different city in the United States.

 China, on the other hand, will be able to impose various sanctions on others, including China's top leaders, especially in Tibet.

Amid Sino-Indian tensions, many experts fear that the US intelligence agency, the CIA, could re-enter the region based on the bill.

 Considering the subversive activities of the CIA and India's IB inside Tibet from 1950 to 1959 and the coup attempts, many fear similar problems will be shown in the future. 

Since the annexation of Tibet as an integral part of China in 1950, the United States and India have jointly set the stage for the Tibetan uprising.

The CIA first established contact with the current Dalai Lama's elder brother, Gyalo Thondup, in 1950. At that time, the CIA's covert operation hideout was set up in the Indian city of Kalimpong, and from there the covert operation in Tibet took place. 

IB of India is associated with this process. From then on, the CIA used the runway (now Hazrat Shahjalal Airport) built during World War II north of Dhaka, the then capital of East Pakistan. 

From here, so-called Tibetan rebels were taken to various US-occupied islands for training. They were later sent into Tibet from a secret hideout called Mastang, adjacent to Nepal-Tibet.

Many believe that India will cooperate if the United States launches a new covert operation against China in Tibet. In that case, the question of how much the United States and India can pull Nepal and Bhutan into the team is important.

It is noteworthy that at that time, three countries of the subcontinent had cooperated with the United States in the CIA-IB covert operation in Tibet called St. Circus and St. Barnam - India-Nepal and then East Pakistan. 

It was in this context that the armed revolt against China began in Tibet in 1959, but they could not stand up to China. 



China suppressed the coup with all its might. About 40,000 Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama, formed a government in Dharamsala, India, demanding Tibet's independence. 

It was in this context that the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the defeat of India in that war. 

The CIA had to leave the region because of the deteriorating US relations with India after the war. To improve relations with China, Pakistan halted CIA operations in their area.

Many believe that India will cooperate if the United States launches a new covert operation against China in Tibet. In that case, the question of how much the United States and India can pull Nepal and Bhutan into the team is important.

In the post-Corona pandemic world, China is far ahead in economic and military power. 

In such a scenario, there is a debate among Indian experts as to how appropriate it would be for India to side with the United States.

 The post-Corona Indian economy is expected to remain in the doldrums for days to come. Therefore, India will lose in competition with China.

However, on the scene, it seems that Tibet is going to be a new dimension to Sino-Indian tensions. How long the small countries of South Asia can keep themselves out of this vortex is a matter of concern.





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