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China Threatens India Over Japan’s Military Drills

To outsiders, China is the only Asian tiger that has military capability to start and sustain a long-drawn-out war, considering its numerous armies and state-of-the-art weaponry. But in reality that military permutation is absolutely incorrect: Japan as well as India are formidable Asian military powerhouses that can hold their own when it comes to regional military showmanship. As a matter of fact, Japan has to its name an inglorious militarization past when it occupied many countries in the Asia sub-region, including China itself and countries like Singapore, Philippines, South Korea and so on. Indian military might has withstood Chinese armies on several occasions. A typical India-China onslaught that readily comes to mind is the “Border War” of 1962 when Indian soldiers defended a strip of land in the Himalayas, which China also laid claim to.

xi jinping modi India China

It wasn’t surprising when China strongly protested against India's invitation to Japan to be part of Malaba military exercises previously scheduled to take place in October. Even though India and the United States had, in the past, invited Japan to the same military drills, this time around India has had no apparent option but to buckle under Chinese pressure. This explains why Malaba exercises previously scheduled for October have been canceled by India.

China vs India: The troubled Asian diplomacy

There are some diplomatic juggernauts at play here, and if you are not keen on troubled Asian diplomacy, you may end up scratching your head in confusion. To set the record straight: China’s disapproval comes from the realization by Chinese leaders that Japan joining forces with India is particularly aimed at alienating China. It is almost impossible for Chinese technocrats to overlook Japanese militarization past, a terrible event that has often overshadowed whatever development Japan and China had made to normalize their relations.

India cannot risk anything at this moment to jeopardize its economic and diplomatic ties with China, in spite of the challenges both countries face to sustain this bad marriage. The volume of Indo-China trade in 2010 stood at $30 billion, smaller than the international trade between India and Japan. For economic reasons, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have made the decision to forgo Malaba military...