Vol. 9 No. 2 (2021): A Journal of Strategic Studies, Winter 2021

Diverse Interpretations of the Sino-Indian Conflict

Riaz A. Khokhar
Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
CISS Insight Journal Winter 2021
Published April 7, 2022
  • Disputed Border,
  • Military Standoff,
  • South Asia,
  • Biased Interpretation,
  • Religious Violence,
  • Military Aggression
  • ...More
How to Cite
Riaz A. Khokhar. (2022). Diverse Interpretations of the Sino-Indian Conflict. CISS Insight Journal, 9(2), P47-65. Retrieved from http://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/209


In the summer of 2020, China mobilized its military forces along its undefined border with India in the mountainous Galwan valley. Analysts have made different interpretations of China’s move. One school of thought considers China’s military mobilization as part of an aggressive campaign against neighbors. Another school regards China’s actions as defensive and responsive to India’s pugnacious rhetoric and military campaign. Yet another line of thinking views China’s military response as much required to check India’s territorial expansionism and military aggression in its neighborhood. Each of these perspectives has a logical base. This paper will examine all of these viewpoints, and in doing so, will also seek to explore if an interpretation of the Sino-Indian conflict, where Beijing’s reaction is construed as aggression, can be a catalyst in a three-tier process of undermining security in South Asia. One, the incident buttressed the perception about India as a potential counterweight to China; second, India’s enhanced importance will drive the western powers to arm India with advanced military technologies; and third, in the process, they disregard India’s domestic human rights violations and democratic backsliding as well as regional military aggression.