If India and China were to come to blows, the real war would be fought at sea. China imports large amounts of foreign oil, and two thirds of that must pass through the Indian Ocean. India sits astride the sea lanes providing China with energy. In the event of increased tensions the Indian Navy could impose essentially a blockade on China of vital shipping from the Persian Gulf and Africa.
“Five Indian Weapons of War China Should Fear“, The National Interest, 6/21/14.