Nepal | October 20, 2020

What’s behind latest India-China border tension

Associated Press
Share Now:

NEW DELHI: Tensions along the China-India border high in the Himalayas have flared again in recent weeks.

Indian officials say the latest row began in early May, when Chinese soldiers entered the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh at three different points, erecting tents and guard posts. They said the Chinese soldiers ignored repeated verbal warnings to depart, triggering shouting matches, stone-throwing and fistfights. China has sought to downplay the confrontation while providing little information.

A look at the history and current relations between the two countries and how events may develop:

BRAWLING TROOPS

Over recent weeks, thousands of soldiers from the two countries have been facing off just a few hundred meters (yards) from each other in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. China has objected to India building a road through the valley connecting the region to an airstrip, possibly sparking its move to assert control over territory along the border that is not clearly defined in places.

While a brawl between troops has been captured on video, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Wednesday that the border situation was “generally stable and controllable.”

The sides were communicating through both their front-line military units and their respective embassies to “properly resolve relevant issues through dialogue and consultation,” Zhao said at a daily ministry news briefing in Beijing.

India and China engaged in a similar standoff for 73 days at Doklam, at the other end of their disputed border, in 2017, when Indian troops were mobilized to counter what was seen as moves by the Chinese side to expand its presence along the border with Bhutan. The situation was later defused through diplomatic channels.

WAR AND PEACE BETWEEN TWO ASIAN GIANTS

The sides established diplomatic relations in 1950, but a 1962 border war between them set back ties for decades.

In all, China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh with its traditionally Buddhist population. India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.

Relations are also strained by India’s hosting of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled his homeland in 1959 during an aborted uprising against Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama established a self-declared government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, where thousands of Tibetans have settled.

EFFORTS FOR A RESOLUTION

In 1993, the two countries signed an agreement on the “Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility” along what is known as the Line of Actual Control along their border.

But they are nowhere near to settling their dispute despite more than 20 rounds of talks along with multiple meetings between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing’s support for Pakistan on the issue of the disputed territory of Kashmir is also a major cause of concern for India. China has built a road through Pakistani-controlled Kashmir and is blocking India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group by insisting on Pakistan’s simultaneous entry.

India’s refusal to participate in Xi’s signature foreign policy initiative, the multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, hasn’t gone down well with China, while Beijing has paid only lip service to New Delhi’s aspirations to join the UN Security Council as a permanent member.

ECONOMIC RIVALRY AMID GROWING TRADE

Despite the sporadic border clashes, economic ties between the two have expanded in the past decade, with China exercising a large trade surplus.

More than 100 Chinese companies, many of them state-owned, have established offices or operations in India, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry. Chinese firms including Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo and Oppo occupy nearly 60% of India’s mobile phone market, while India’s major exports to China lean toward cotton, copper and gemstones.

Trade volume rose to more than US$95 billion in 2018, and passed $53 billion in the first half of 2019, with almost $43 billion of that being Chinese exports to India.

The imbalance has contributed to a push by India to capitalize on China’s rising costs and deteriorating ties with the United States and European nations to become a replacement home for large multinationals.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepalaya releases Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'

KATHMANDU: Nepalaya book publication house has released Dr Sudha Sharma's memoir 'Singha Durbarko Ghumne Mech'. Issuing a press statement, the publication house said, Nepal's Former President Dr Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the book amid special ceremony in Kathmandu, on Saturday. The book chr Read More...

Pakistan opposition holds mass rally calling for PM Khan to go

KARACHI: Tens of thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi on Sunday as part of a campaign to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan, who they accuse of being installed by the military in a rigged election two years ago. The mass demonstration in Karachi was Read More...

TVET for well-off career in Tourism and Hospitality

Travel & Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting one in 10 jobs (330 million) worldwide, and generating 10.3% of global GDP. Over the past five years, one in four new jobs were created by the sector, making Travel & Tourism the best partner for governments to ge Read More...

Dreams of bereaved family shattered after death of ASI Govinda BK

DHANGADHI: The family members of police personnel who was killed in an ambush on Saturday night are still in a state of shock. Assistant Sub Inspector of Police (ASI) Govinda BK was killed in an ambush set up by smugglers on the night of October 17. He had taken the charge of police post based in Read More...

Department of Commerce collects Rs 7.8 million in fines

KATHMANDU: The Department of Commerce, Supplies and Consumer Protection (DCSCP) has collected revenue of over Rs 7.8 million in fines from businesspersons selling substandard goods and operating business illegally. The department had carried out a market monitoring in Kathmandu Valley from Sept Read More...

Public Service Commission halts all written exams until further notice

KATHMANDU: The Public Service Commission has decided to postpone all scheduled written examinations until further notice citing the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Issuing a notice, the PSC has stated that all written exams scheduled by the Commission from November 1 have been halted for the present Read More...

Nepal’s Covid-19 tally hits 136,036 with 3,790 new cases recorded on Monday

KATHMANDU: Nepal registered 3,790 additional cases of coronavirus infection taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to 136,036, on Monday. There are currently 40,778 active cases of infection while 4,470 people are staying at quarantine facilities across the country. A total of 2,335 people who h Read More...

Ministry of Home Affairs

Home Ministry confirms "emergency curfew" notice as hoax

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has stated that the "emergency curfew" notice disseminated through a Short Message Service (SMS) and circulating on social media on Monday morning was a hoax. Issuing a press release today, MoHA said that the notice was false, misguiding, baseless, Read More...