While eschewing paranoia, alarmism and irresponsible rhetoric, a state of armed coexistence requires astute management. First, Indian and Chinese officials—civilian and military—must communicate across all levels. The establishment of a hotline between the heads of government must be followed up with communication links and better contacts between military commanders at operational levels...
Second, India must continue to invest in conventional defences to ensure that the military balance across the Himalayan frontier remains stable in the face of the PLA’s rapid modernization. This calls for careful planning as to the type of military assets used and the areas where they are deployed, to minimize the risk of miscalculation by either side. Also, as Admiral Sureesh Mehta said in an important speech a few days before he stepped down as navy chief, “On the military front, our strategy to deal with China must include reducing the military gap and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean Region. The traditional or ‘attritionist’ approach of matching ‘Division for Division’ must give way to harnessing modern technology for developing high situational awareness and creating a reliable stand-off deterrent.”
Third, India must avoid creating needless suspicions in Beijing over its Tibet policy. John Garver, a noted scholar of India-China relations, determines that Mao’s profound misreading of Nehru’s strategic intentions over Tibet was one of the main drivers of China’s decision to go to war with India in 1962. New Delhi must not allow the Tibetans’ struggle to unduly determine how it is perceived by the Chinese leadership.
Finally, not everything about the India-China border issue lies in the domain of foreign policy. It’s not only about the “development” of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh. It is about making them part of the political, economic and social mainstream.
Ironically, while China has consciously attempted to integrate Tibet in to Chinese mainstream, India has as part of its strategic doctrine sought to keep the border regions such as Arunachal or Ladakh or Sikkim, relatively isolated, believing that their remoteness would somehow help secure secure the border against possible external aggression. In modern times, it is futile to believe that natural obstacles such as the mighty Himalayas would continue to prove insurmountable as it had throughout much of history. Secondly, there is a greater need among military and strategic scholars to recognise the critical role of economic development in sustaining a greater military strength.