India-China standoff: How India is countering China's aggression with 'neighbourhood diplomacy'

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 27, 2020, 10.09 PM(IST)

Xi Jinping and PM Modi Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The high-profile visits of Indian diplomats to its neighbouring countries are being seen as an effort to wrest back the waning regional influence from China

To counter China, India's topmost representatives have travelled to five countries in its immediate and the extended neighbourhood.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is on a tour to West Asia, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla is on a tour of Nepal and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is on a tour to Sri Lanka.

The high-profile visits of Indian diplomats to its neighbouring countries are being seen as an effort to wrest back the waning regional influence from China. India is embroiled in a deadly border showdown with China in eastern Ladakh since May and has sought closer military ties with other countries.

As per reports, the Ladakh border standoff is likely to extend through the winter. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is advancing bilateral ties with countries where the security interests of both sides converge. 

Also read: NSA Ajit Doval arrives in Sri Lanka to attend trilateral maritime dialogue

Doval, India's National Security Advisor, arrived in Colombo on Friday for trilateral maritime dialogue among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Sri Lanka will host the fourth national security advisor trilateral meeting on maritime security cooperation with India and Maldives on Friday and Saturday.

This will be the first NSA level meeting on Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation. Besides Doval, Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Major General (Retd). Kamal Gunaratne and Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Didi will participate in the meeting.

To defeat China's unending unilateralism, the agenda of the meeting will be cooperation and collective action on security issues in the Indian Ocean region.

From the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka to a friendship bridge in the Maldives, China has been vying for greater control in the region. The maritime dialogue will be aimed at rehauling India's traditional sphere of influence.

Also read: Nepal occupies special place in our hearts, says FS Harsh V Shringla

India's foreign secretary Harsh Shringla on Friday said Nepal holds a very special place in everybody's hearts. He said this as he inaugurated India-built projects during his visit to Kathmandu. 

India is building 50,000 houses in the Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal, of which 46,000 have been built. Many houses in this area were damaged due to the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

On his first day of the visit, Shringla met the top political leadership of the Himalayan republic, from PM Oli to President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Also read: Covid-19, energy, defence key focus of Foreign Minister Jaishankar's UAE visit

Energy, Covid-19 cooperation, defence were the key focus areas of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) as he met the top leadership---Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

The primary goal of these visits is securing India's interests in the Gulf. New Delhi is working towards protecting the interests of eight million Indians living and working in the region. At the same time big ticket-investments are being made to generate income and India is looking to offer investment opportunities.

Allies in the Gulf are also crucial for India while tackling the perpetual nuisance, Pakistan. 

From West Asia to South Asia, there is a renewed push by New Delhi to secure the neighbourhood from growing challenges.

India is making a renewed effort to strengthen the strategic backyard and a strong message for China and Pakistan to mend their ways.

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