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Ex-NSA says India needs to reinstate deterrence to stop China from attempting to nibble at LAC

India needs to restore deterrence if it wants to stop China from attempting to nibble at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and changing its status quo, these were the words of noted strategic affairs expert and former National Security Advisor and foreign secretary Shivashankar Menon said on Saturday.  

During an online discussion, he said, “The answer is not making noise or building some international coalition or passing resolution at the UN. To my mind it is ineffective. If you want to stop them from nibbling at the LAC and changing the status quo, you need to restore deterrence which we did partially around Pangong in August. You need to restore it across the line.” 

Menon’s book ‘India and Asian Geopolitics: Past, Present, and Future’ has been launched and he had been replying to a question at the online discussion organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps. He also called for a broader vision of India’s relationship with China. 

“If we are saying peace and tranquility is an essential condition for the rest of the relationship, then how do you explain the fact that in 2020, China again became your biggest trading partner overtaking the US which has been your number one trading partner in 2019. How do you explain the first quarter of this year, where trade has boomed between you and China, maybe because of medical supplies and the outrageous prices they are charging, whatever it is,” Menon added. 

He also said that there was a need to think about how far India can economically decouple itself from China and what it is going to do to strengthen itself on the LAC to make sure that China cannot keep changing the situation in its favour whenever it suits it.  

On the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition comprising India, the US, Australia, and Japan, Menon said New Delhi has significant interests in ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and it must seize the available options considering its strategic interests. 

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