Even after losing twenty of its soldiers in a “violent face-off” with Chinese forces in the western Himalayas, New Delhi has not said a single word. This is the first instance the Indian government has not hastened to go on the chest-thumping initiative. The reason is apparent: China is a very different neighbour compared to others, including Pakistan. Beijing is not only superior to New Delhi economically and militarily, it is also stronger and more powerful internationally, not to mention that the former is one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Besides, the fact that the United States (US) did not take open sides with India also explains why the scuffle drew little public response, including from Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, a man known for his false bravado and jingoism. India maintaining silence and choosing not to make noise on international forums against China reflects both shock at the scale of the killings and the complexity of the relationship between the two neighbours. The silence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which otherwise is so keen on demagoguery against its political rivals and neighbouring countries explain the asymmetries of power.

India has increasingly become aggressive against all its neighbours since Modi had taken charge of the Indian government in 2014. New Delhi has rekindled border and territorial disputes with its neighbours in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

While Pakistan already has the ear of China, it should also approach other regional states with initial overtures and side with them over their issues with India. Only a consolidated effort against India’s border transgressions on all sides will create enough pressure on them to negotiate. Moreover, our security huddles indicate that the top military leadership, especially after the services chiefs attended the rare briefing at ISI headquarters, has its finger on the pulse in this regard.