India-China Border Tension: A Conflict Explained
Posted: Aug 28, 2020
Since 5 May 2020, there have been ongoing clashes between China and India at locations along the Sino-Indian borders. In late May, Chinese forces opposed the Indian road construction in the Galwan River Valley. The disputed site is claimed by both India and China. This caused a war-like situation at the Line of Control.
According to the Indian sources, this resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers including a commanding officer after hand-to-hand fighting with the Chinese troops. This was the first time in 45 years that the soldiers have died in a clash with China along the LAC. The last violent clash happened in 1967 when there were 80 casualties from the India side while over 300 Chinese personnel were killed. Some news outlets stated that 10 Indian soldiers, including 4 officers were held captive and then released by the Chinese troops on 18 June. An unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers were also captured by the Indian Army and then released. However, China has not confirmed the death count of its soldiers. The two Asian giants accuse each other of crossing the Line of Control. According to BBC news, there were 55 Indians versus 300 Chinese.
India strengthened the region with additional 12,000 workers, who assisted India’s Border Road Organisation in completing the construction along the Sino- Indian Border. According to the experts, these standoffs by Chinese are meant to resist the construction of the Darbuk-Shyok-DBO-Road infrastructure project in Ladakh. The Chinese had also developed their projects in those disputed border regions. Another reason can be China’s territory grabbing technique, also known as ‘salami-slicing’, which involves intruding in the small parts of the enemy land.
The matter had been reported as the "worst clash in decades" by media channels worldwide. Some accused India’s road-building exercise to be the reason for the face-off. Opposition Political leaders slammed India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for staying silent over the violent face-off. The New York Times had held both countries "nationalist leaders" for adding fuel to the fire. According to Chinese paper, Global Times, the consistent tensions between the two countries is the result of arrogance and recklessness of the Indian side. The Nepalese government has accused Indian foreign ministry officials of not resolving the issues.
Both countries decided to peacefully resolve the face-off after a high-level meeting between army commanders from both countries. Both sides agreed to maintain peace at the border.
Following the Galwan Valley incident, the Government implemented strict actions against China. On June 29, the Indian government decided to ban 59 Chinese apps including Tik-Tok, Shareit, Camscanner, and so on. According to government officials, this step was taken to ensure the privacy of the Indian user data and to protect the country against the potential threats these apps pose to our national security. Google’s Play Store and Apple’s Play Store have been directed to remove these apps, according to a government official. However, this move could hurt India in investments and employment. ByteDance Ltd., which owns Tik-Tok and Helo, had said to invest around $1billion in India. That will probably remain suspended for a while now. People working for and with these firms will have to suffer losses. Many say it will give a huge push to Indian apps. This way India will earn a strong foothold in the global digital market, which will ensure both economic and social development.
Many countries including Japan, Australia, the US, the UK, France have given their support to India in its border stand-off with China. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrav said Russia believes that India-China doesn’t need third party involvement. It said that both countries should resolve the matter peacefully.
The last major dispute took place in Bhutan’s Doklam region in 2017 after the Indian army sent troops to stop China from constructing a road in the area. This dispute lasted a month and was resolved after the talks.
There’s been only one war between these two countries, in 1962. The Sino-Indian War of 1962, in many ways, is said to be the turning point in the India-China relationship. This four-week war killed thousands of soldiers on the Indian side and India was defeated. Experts say the war did not happen due to the establishment of the Dhola outpost or the arrival of the Dalai Lama in India. It was merely a small move in the game China was planning to become a world player- or it still is.
Both countries had been fighting for the border areas for years now. These areas are seen as important, economically, and militarily. Leaders of both countries tried to resolve the issue peacefully, however,they succeeded and prevented further damage to both the countries as both have nuclear weapons and the strongest military forces in the world.
Ashima is a Computer Engineer by profession having a hobby for writing about everything from technology to daily life, environment, art and literature.