The People's Republic of China (PRC) has set an ambitious goal to become the world's leading military and economic power by the middle of the 21st century. The US is seen as being relegated to the second position, with India following closely in third place. China's strategy to achieve superpower status includes increased focus on economic development and infrastructure expansion in the Indo-Pacific region to secure oil supplies. However, several key challenges stand in its way, including contentious issues with Taiwan, India, Japan, and South Korea. India's main concerns with China revolve around the dispute over the McMahon Line and the illegal occupation of Aksai-Chin since the 1950s, which sparked the Sino-Indian war in 1962. Recent reports of China constructing a railway line along the Aksai-Chin Road have significant implications for India's security at the northern borders. The talk discusses the implications of the construction in detail, and also looks at the options India has to ramp up its security and safeguard its own interests. These include strengthening infrastructure along its northern borders, particularly in Ladakh, diversifying transportation routes to Ladakh, enhancing airfield capabilities in the northern plains, and strengthening diplomatic ties with regional powers such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Australia.
About the Speakers
Virendra Sahai Verma is an army veteran and Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies Delhi. He has served in the Indian Army for 35 years. He holds master’s degree in Defence Studies from Madras University and Commerce from Rajasthan University, an MBA, and a graduation from Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Tamil Nadu. Besides presenting several papers at seminars, Verma has published numerous articles on issues relating to India-China relations, Tibet, border studies, Sino-Pak relations, role of soldiers in peace-making, maritime security, etc. Most of his writings focus on dispute resolution. He is a member of several organisations including International Study Association, Manohar Parikkar Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, and International Intelligence Ethics Association. He has travelled extensively to 26 countries including China, USA, & Pakistan. Colonel Verma is also Vice President of the India-Pakistan Soldier's Initiative for Peace (IPSI). Verma was invited by the Ethnic Minority Groups Development Research Institute, State Council to discuss the Tibet issue. He was also awarded 'Ambassador for Peace' by the Universal Peace Federation-Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace in 2006.
About the Chair
M V Rappai is a Delhi based security analyst specializing in Asian Strategic issues. He worked with the Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India and later on joined the IDSA as a Research Fellow (1996 - 2002). He is currently associated with the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi and has published chapters in books and articles in reputed journals and newspapers. Rappai holds a PG Diploma in Chinese language from the School of Foreign Languages, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
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