Indo-China Border: 60 years of never ending tension

Although there have been many times, China-India relations have warmed, but the border issue between the two countries has not yet found a satisfactory solution.

China through its military action at Galwan in Ladakh, which resulted in many soldiers killed on both sides, China has violated three key bilateral agreements — 1993, 1996, and 2013 – that have been central to maintaining peace and tranquility on the disputed Line of Actual Control. Until June 2020, not a single soldier had been killed on either side of the LAC for over four decades.

1993 and 1996, agreements were signed to monitor the lines of actual control and limit the number of troops near disputed areas greatly reduced the possibility of a change in the military balance in the region or the possibility of both sides occupying the disputed territories. vacant territories, which are the very things that trigger the use of force.

But Sino-Indian tensions returned again in June 2017 in the disputed Doklam area bordering Sikkim. India claims that the road built by Beijing poses a “serious security concern” as it leads into the region connecting seven northwestern Indian states.

After that, India deployed an additional 2,500 troops to the Sikkim state bordering China to enhance its ability to respond in the event of a conflict between the two sides breaking out in the Doklam plateau. This is believed to be a response to China’s deployment of more troops to Khamba Dzong and areas near the Chumbi valley, which lies between India’s Sikkim and Bhutan.

Tensions have flared near “Siliguri Corridor” – a small strip of land that serves as the only direct connection to the divided northeastern part of the country, which borders China to the north. In early June Beijing started construction on a new road leading to the Doklam plateau disputed with New Delhi – where China, India and Bhutan meet.

After unsuccessfully protesting, Bhutan asked India to send troops to Doklam to prevent moves from China. China accuses the Indian army of crossing the line agreed by the two countries, dividing the region of Tibet (west of China) from the state of Sikkim (east of India).

China only recognized Sikkim as belonging to India in 2003. In contrast, New Delhi accused Beijing of infringing upon the security of India and neighboring Bhutan by “expanding infrastructure” near the border. Both China and India refused to give up.

Soon after, about 400 Indian soldiers “faced” Chinese troops in the disputed border area. Even New Delhi has just sent an additional 2,500 troops to Sikkim to strengthen its ability to respond in case a conflict may break out in the Doklam plateau. After that, the Chinese military began to conduct large-scale live-fire drills involving aircraft, tanks and artillery. A Chinese army brigade equipped with missile launchers and tanks conducts a live-fire drill at an “enemy” site near the Indian border.

Meanwhile, information on social media shows that China has fired live bullets across the border to India, injuring several Indian soldiers. Beijing declares that it is “not afraid” and is ready for all-out war along its border with New Delhi.

Military moves from Beijing raise concerns that the situation may continue to escalate, the “possibility of war” cannot be ruled out, especially dangerous because both China and India possess nuclear weapons.

In the context that Beijing and New Delhi are going through more than a month of tension, when both sides accuse the other’s troops of infiltrating each other’s territory, Beijing has repeatedly asked the Indian army to withdraw troops “unconditionally” from the disputed territory.

China believes that the India-Bhutal alliance is a complete “lie”, saying that it intervenes militarily on behalf of its neighbor, but in fact the “South Asian giant” wants to maintain and open it. expanding regional hegemony. Regardless of all points of view, New Delhi did not give in.

Indian media has flatly denied Chinese media reports that the Chinese military “killed” 158 Indian soldiers and fired missiles across the border in the Sikkim area.

Currently, India has nearly 200,000 troops stationed in areas disputed with China, 15-20 times the number of Chinese forces. India has been preparing for a “long fight” in the Doklam area and there is no sign of withdrawal.

Observers said that although China and India are still tense, it will be difficult for the two sides to declare war on each other, because it will cause huge and unpredictable losses. Although China and India both increase their troops on the border, the tense atmosphere is like an impending war, but so far the armies of both sides are still probing, completely unwilling to risk a war.

Looking at the actual situation, the Doklam area is not an ideal place to fight when the terrain is bumpy and the roads are not favorable. Due to logistical pressure, the mountain division, even if it uses an offensive approach, the front line is relatively short, and the ability to continuously fight is very limited.

If a conflict occurs, the priority option of the two sides will be “fight fast, win fast”, conduct a “red and black” war. The live-fire drills or threats from the Chinese side only stop at the “stimulating” level and it is unlikely that a major clash will occur, let alone a major conflict.

With the current military strength, a major military clash if it occurs will be extremely difficult to control, which can lead to unpredictable consequences for both sides. Many experts also emphasized that India’s current military strength is not superior to China’s, which means that if it starts a war, it will be difficult to defeat China.

Of course, India has been taking many concrete steps to strengthen its defense power (with testing a variety of strategic weapons) as well as link up with many other countries to respond to China’s position.

In addition, India does not want a conflict, and at the same time hopes to use the historical experience to cooperate to resolve the confrontation, making Sino-Indian relations return to a normal trajectory, avoiding conflict. which could make great damage to bilateral relations.

China is keen to establish relations with countries within India’s sphere of influence, with a strategy of “slicing sausages” to “swallow” the lands China claims to be its own. Therefore, Beijing absolutely does not want to go to war with New Delhi, because China’s strategic push in South Asia for many years will pour down the river into the sea.

Obviously, a war will not benefit either side because China and India have close trade relations and both have other security concerns so it is difficult to shoulder another war.

However, in general, it is difficult to see that tensions can be eased quickly because China has a very tough stance, has a provocative attitude and wants to contain India’s influence in South Asia. Therefore, the two sides will probably play a game of “playing each other” to take advantage of the time to prepare for a relatively remote confrontation scenario.

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