India-China Border Standoff: All You Need To Know
The top South Asian security analysts believe that recent Indian-Chinese tensions at the Laddakh’s de facto border, known as Line of Actual Control (LAC) can be escalated as Chinese trucks have allegedly moved equipment inside Indian side of the border.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, in a statement released on Tuesday, said: “China is committed to safeguarding the security of its national territorial sovereignty, as well as safeguarding peace and stability in the China-India border areas.” On the same day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held a meeting with his national security adviser, Ajit Doval and his chief of defence staff and three security chiefs to discuss “bolstering India’s military preparedness to deal with external security challenges”.
Last week, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) accused the Chinese troops of hindering regular Indian patrols along the LAC. “All Indian activities are entirely on the Indian side of the LAC. In fact, it is the Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns,” MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava said.
On May 5, a scuffle broke out between Indian and Chinese troops at the Pangong Tso lake, located 14,000 feet (4,270 metres) above the sea level in the Himalayan region of Ladakh.
A video shot by an Indian soldier and shared on social media earlier this month showed that soldiers from both countries engaged in fistfights and stone-pelting at the Laddakh LAC – the incident which continued until the next day, resulted in 11 soldiers being injured on both sides of the border.
At that time, both countries downplayed the incidents and the issues were resolved at the local commander level, as has generally been done in the past. But in the weeks since then, the India-China border has seen soldiers from both sides camping along several disputed areas of the border, with each side accusing the other of trespassing.
On May 8, nearly 1,200km (745 miles) away to the east along the LAC, another fight erupted at Nathu La Pass in the Indian state of Sikkim after Indian soldiers stopped a patrol party from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
International news outlet Al Jazeera reported that Ajai Shukla, a defence analyst based in New Delhi, fears that any further escalation would mean ‘all-out combat’. “China wants the border problem to linger; it keeps India off balance and prevents India from focusing its attention on Tibet, where China is in deep problem[s],” he said.
The defence analyst said that thousands of Chinese troops are currently on Indian soil and the only thing that remains for them is to ‘engage in combat’.
Moreover, some analysts have suggested that the Chinese border assertion was a way to divert global attention from its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.