Why Chinese and Indian Troops Are Tussling Over Border Dispute?
China and India, two nuclear-armed countries with a combined population of 2.7 billion, have been mobilizing hundreds of troops at a disputed border in a distant region of the Himalayas. It’s the newest flashpoint in a long tale of border problems between the two nations that include the war in 1962 and a dust-up near Bhutan in 2017. The latest stresses along the 3,488 kilometers (2,167 miles) un-demarcated border occurred at a time of rising Chinese assertiveness in concerns of sovereignty. India engages with a worsening coronavirus outbreak and an economy in crisis.
What is this dispute about?
On May 5, China shocked India by stationing troops in three central areas, two in Ladakh, a section of strategic importance nestled between western Tibet and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The reason for the tactics remains unclear, but India’s ruling in 2019 to bring the territory under direct federal authority had brought an angry answer from China, almost like that of neighboring Pakistan, which has friendly ties with Beijing. The govt in Beijing declared it had been unacceptable that India “proceeded to undermine its territorial sovereignty.” Combat has left many militants wounded, with conflicts centered within the Galwan River area and Pangong Tso, a glacial lake at 14,000 feet within the Tibetan plateau.
How old is that the India-China border conflict?
The dispute dates back to the 1950s. Skirmishes were reported after India granted the Dalai Lama asylum following an uprising against Chinese rule out Tibet in 1959. War burst out three years later after China opposed to India placing outstations along the active boundary, built by British in 1914, between the Tibetan region and Northeast India. The present “Line of Actual Control” that forms the ambiguous border partially adheres to the British-drawn boundaries. Collisions were also reported in 1967 and again in 1987 in what’s sometimes considered as the loudspeaker war — no shots were fired and soldiers only kept shouting at one another via loudspeakers. Relations improved because the two states signed five agreements between 1993 and 2013 and — with financial means racing ahead in both nations — China became India’s biggest trading associate. The boundary remained mostly quiet in 2017, when troops encountered each other for many months at Doklam, a plateau near the Indian border confessed by both China and Bhutan. The clashes are mostly seasonal, given the harsh winter situations.
What is different about the present flare-up?
The context. India is fighting a growing coronavirus outbreak that infected about 200,000 people by early June, also as inflicting severe damage on the economy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been changing his country diplomatically closer to the U.S., whose distorted connections with China have worsened in 2020 within the wake of the pandemic that began in China. Since its 2017 standoff with China, India has signed significant intelligence and arms deals with the U.S. India has also recently blocked Chinese companies from taking local businesses and stepped up construction in border areas. China has been building border infrastructure for many years, including — to India’s chagrin — through disputed areas that link China to Pakistan. Meanwhile, China is getting more assertive. it’s pushing ahead within the light of international condemnation with severer security laws in Hong Kong, while also becoming involved in additional military run-ins within the South China Sea and threatening Taiwan against any movements toward liberation.
Will tensions escalate?
Diplomatic talks continue, and both nations rejected a suggestion to mediate by U.S. President Donald Trump. India has downplayed the skirmishes, and China says dialog can resolve things. Most observers say the war is strange since neither side desires to intensify matters. One outcome could be a closer alignment between India and, therefore, the U.S., which has involved expanding the G7 to incorporate India. The U.S. has been broadening trade and strategic ties with nations of the Indo-Pacific — India, Japan and Australia — who form the informal grouping referred to as the Quad. Meantime, there’s always an opportunity border scuffle will resume elsewhere. India this year opened a bridge to enable faster movement of troops and artillery within the region of the 2017 border clashes.