Daily Editorial Analysis for 24th July 2020

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  5. Daily Editorial Analysis for 24th July 2020

Escalating tensions


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.


The U.S.’s decision to close China’s consulate in Houston is an unprecedented escalation in the steadily deteriorating ties between the world’s two largest economies.


  • tariff warbetween the two countries started in 2018. The increased tariffs on Chinese goods by the U.S. received retaliation from the Chinese in equal measure.
  • The U.S. has labelled China a Currency Manipulator.
  • The U.S. has expressed concerns about Huawei, the Chinese technology giant and its role in the 5G technology dissemination. The U.S. has been asking its allies in the western world to boycott Huawei.
  • The U.S-China tensions are no longer only about trade and technology. What started as a trade war has snowballed into a larger geopolitical contest between the two countries.
  • The S. passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as a token of support to the Hong Kong protestors. China considers this move of the U.S. as interference in its internal matters and has strongly criticized this move.
  • China has repeatedly blamed the U.S. of not respecting the One China policygiven the U.S.’s outreach to Taiwan.
  • The U.S. has announced visa restrictions on Chinese students, imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over a Hong Kong security law and is reportedly considering a sweeping travel ban on the members of China’s ruling Communist Party.
  • China recently expelled some American journalists.
  • China’s activities in the South China Seahave been repeatedly condemned by the U.S. and the U.S. has recently dispatched its aircraft carriers to the region.

Key Details:

  • The order asking China to close its consulate in Houston marks an escalation in the steadily deteriorating ties between the U.S. and China. This is the first time a Chinese mission is being closed in the U.S. since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979.
  • The U.S. administration has accused the Houston consulate and other Chinese diplomatic missions in the U.S. of economic espionage, visa fraud and attempted theft of scientific research.
  • China has denied these allegations.


  • As against the popular notion that it is only the current U.S. administration that has been taking a hard stance against China, there is growing consensus in the U.S. that a hostile China, resorting to large-scale espionage, poses a serious threat to the U.S.-dominated international order.
  • The U.S. Congress has been supportive of the President’s confrontational policy towards China.
  • This is what makes the crisis dangerous in the long term.
  • China has retaliated against every hostile move by the U.S.
  • The U.S.-China crisis is unfolding at a time when China is also acting more assertively in its dealings with other countries in its neighborhood.
  • This approach seems to indicate a message from China that it is ready for a long game of escalation.

New cold war situation:

  • The U.S. policies and China’s retaliation has done serious damage to bilateral relations that cannot be reversed easily. If the deterioration in relations is not arrested immediately, the U.S. and China risk a total breakdown in diplomatic relations.
  • The escalation in tensions between the world’s two most powerful nations has been unprecedented and something the world hasn’t seen since the hostile competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Implications for others:

  • The deterioration in U.S.-China ties is bad news for the whole world.
  • Given the fact that the U.S. and China are the two largest economies of the world, a breakdown in ties between the two countries could have adverse implications for the global economy.

Calibrated balance


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.


In separate statements this week, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar laid out India’s world view in the face of global challenges, many of which pull it in different directions. Mr. Jaishankar’s contention was that nonalignment as a concept belonged to a bygone era and that multipolarity in the world necessitated that India would have to take a definite stand, and even take “risks” on issues such as connectivity, maritime security, terrorism and climate change

Key Details:

New form of non-alignment:

  • The External Affairs Minister has emphasized that India has never been part of an alliance system, nor will it ever be. This statement comes at a time when India- U.S. relations have been on the upswing.
  • While complete non-alignment worked for India during the Cold War era between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the fact that India and China share a land boundary would always be a factor in a new cold war between the U.S. and China. India would inadvertently be pulled into the new cold war.
  • Given the current multipolarity in the world, India would need to take a definite stand on issues thus requiring a new approach to the non-alignment policy. This would involve India not rejecting non-alignment in its entirety, but at the same time taking stands on issues without compromising on its independence.

India’s approach:

  • The assertion of India’s strategic independence and resistance to joining any alliance comes as a timely reminder amid speculation that tensions with China will push India into a stronger alliance with the U.S.
  • Despite multiple calls for India and the U.S. to jointly “counter” China, India has rightly chosen not to raise its tensions with China in any forum other than bilateral talks with China.
  • A notable aspect of foreign policy has been India’s outreach to Russiaduring the India-China tensions.
  • The Indian Defence Minister had recently visited Russia. The External Affairs Minister had participated in the Russia-India-China trilateral.
  • India has also been seeking to build coalitions with “middle powers”,such as the European Union and Japan.


  • Non-alignment as a policy must be rethought, but India must be wary of alliance systems. India has thus far taken a carefully calibrated approach to the evolving situation in global affairs and should continue to do so.

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