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Vishal Rajput Writes : China had frequently violated the international law in respecting of the sovereignty of the neighbouring countries. In April 2017, Chinese Minister of Civil Affairs propounded that they would ‘standardize’ the names of some towns located in Arunachal Pradesh which China refers as “South Tibet”.

Vishal Rajput Writes : 

Shifting Paradigms in World Order

The recent US statement condemning aggressive Chinese behaviour in Ladakh[i], even as there was no official Indian statement on it, underlines the fact that it is a result of the contestation for ‘global and regional dominance’ between the US and China. Such contestation is inevitable in international power politics. In the colonial period, the contestation was between Great Britain and other colonial powers. The retreat of the colonial-era particularly after Second World War gave rise to the tussle between the USSR and the USA. The breakup of the USSR in the early 1990s witnessed the dawn of Pax Americana and Unipolar World Order.

Over a while, the United States became the ‘Global Policeman state’ and made its dominance evident. However, this dominance is presently being challenged by other regional powers, especially China that is attempting to set a revisionist world order with its own guided self-centred principles against the spirit of extant International law.  This article analyses the recent aggressive trajectory of Beijing’s strategic behaviour. The attempt to enforce its hegemony/dominance is two-folded. One the one hand, in South Asia, it regularly infringes the sovereignty of India in Arunachal and Ladakh (including Gilgit-Baltistan). In the South East Asian region, Beijing claims some strategic reefs/atolls and islands in the South China Sea as its territory in contestation to other regional countries’ claims. It has created artificial islands over these reefs and atolls and has militarised them.

Instances of Chinese Aggressive Behaviour

China had frequently violated the international law in respecting of the sovereignty of the neighbouring countries. In April 2017, Chinese Minister of Civil Affairs propounded that they would ‘standardize’ the names of some towns located in Arunachal Pradesh which China refers as “South Tibet”. Similar sort of transgression has happened in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand as well, in unison to Doklam Crisis, as the government reported.[ii] The latest incident in Ladakh is no different. While such incidents do take place due to the varying perceptions of the un-demarcated border, yet they are dealt with by China with undue aggression when it wants to exert pressure.

Recently post the outbreak of the novel corona virus (COVID-19) China and US have been increasingly belligerent with each other. The belligerence had started prior to the outbreak in the form of the trade war due to the Chinese aggressive policy in the South China Sea since 2013, and Trump’s ‘America First’ policy. The transnational nature of the globalized world has rapidly affected countries ‘locked down’ against the spread of the COVID-19, and the likely global economic recession will affect all.

However, post recovery, China is back to old ways of ‘creeping claims’; it is leveraging the opportunity provided by the pandemic, and through aid and aggressive actions is attempting to advance its geo-strategic position. Recently, China turned the heat on its two central Asian neighbours: Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; two of its websites claimed that both the aforementioned countries have been part of China in that particularly “Kazakhstan is eager to return back to China”. At the same time, China’s CGTN had deliberately tweeted a picture that laid claims to Mt. Everest as the part of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, which later has been removed and corrected further upon[iii].

The Indo-Pacific has been set as the stage for major power contentions where China is attempting to dominate the region. China is advancing its hegemonistic measures in the Indo Pacific Region and the South China Sea. This is receiving worldwide condemnation and strong criticism from other regional countries. In the theoretical framework, Indo-Pacific has been advocated and the US has rallied support from India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia in the form of the Quad. All these countries believe in the free and open Indo-Pacific. In this situation Russia’s aligning with China to counter its tradition rival, the US is a natural corollary.

Appraised Postulation

China is challenging the US dominance over the international order, but it can do this only with the close cooperation of other regional actors and by distracting others that it believes to be China’s allies. The recent protests by Nepal post the opening up of a road to Lipulekh pass (whose construction which was well known to Nepal , had begun in 2008[iv]) is obviously an attempt to drive a wedge between India and Nepal with the overall aim of disconcerting India in the “great Indo-Pacific Game”. In the same manner, earlier it had bullied the Vietnamese through aggressive maritime manoeuvres, thereby propounding the message to its neighbouring countries to either toe its line or face consequences.

China’s sabre-rattling and war-mongering attitude reflects an opinionated, myopic, and inward-looking conduct, unlike a true global leader. The culmination of China’s conflicting posture vis-à-vis the South China Sea, unending internal hostility from Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and regular transgression of the sovereignty of India are the indications towards geo-strategic instability in both South Asia and South-East Asia. At the same time, after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, all major powers need to put more efforts in changing the trajectory from a unipolar world order to more participatory, rule-based, multi-polar world order and that should be following International law and consensus of all.

End Notes

[i] Indrani Bagcchi, “US slams China’s ‘disturbing behaviour’ at India Border”, Times of India, May 21, 2020. At

[ii] S. K. Gurung “Chinese army entered Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district while Doklam was on, claims report.”,  The Economic Times, Jul 13, 2018. At

[iii] , S. Sibal “Now, Chinese websites claim Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan part of China; draws ire of Central Asia.” WION, May 11, 2020, At

[iv] Dil Bahadur Chattyal, “India began construction of controversial road 12 years ago, Nepal ‘unaware’”, My Republica, May 10,2020, At



Vishal Rajput is a Contractual Project Intern at the Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation, United Service Institution of India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that he belongs to or of the USI of India.

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