ISLAMABAD   -  Experts at a seminar here on Thursday stressed the need for global leadership, consensus, and flexibility as they believed that the world as a whole had been facing a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability, and instability. 

Speaking at an International Webinar on ‘Sino-India Border Clashes: Implications for South Asian Strategic Environment,’ organised by the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS), here, an international panel of experts from China, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and the United States said as the world as a whole faced a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability, and instability, there was need for global leadership, consensus, and flexibility. They were of the view that there was a severe perception gap between China and India. Both sides believe that their policies are purely defensive. However, despite their self-perceived defensive purposes, the current conflict is not going to end anytime soon.

They said United States was using a binding military strategy to ally with India against China gradually. Interdependence means China and India cannot afford to be enemies. “India is only concerned with prestige, not with deterrence,” they believed. The experts were of the view that border disputes were unlikely to escalate to nuclear conflicts. They said without an improvement in Indo-Pak relations, and to some extent, US-Iran relations, an important reason for instability though not the only one in Afghanistan, would continue to fester. 

Rahul Roy Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), London, believed that the recent violent border clashes between Indian and Chinese troops had resulted in a deterioration of bilateral relations between the two countries. This bad relationship could neither be easily nor quickly reversed. 

Discussing the significance of the South Asian region, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, former Chief of General Staff, outlined that the region’s growth potential depended on reducing intra-regional disputes and its relations with the US. He said the latter looked at China as an emerging competitor, while China also sees US as a threat. ‘As long as China feels threatened by US, the region would remain constructively constrained,” he opined. On the Sino-India border clashes, he said that besides other implications, the psychological impact of the Ladakh conflict on all major regional states could not be ignored. 

“The conflict proved that China had the ability to defeat India at a much lower scale. However, he also pointed out that both countries were unlikely to escalate to a broader level in Ladakh, in order to save their 90-billion dollar bilateral trade.