onsdag 17. juni 2020

Why China and India are fighting over an inhospitable border

After over four decades of saber-rattling and minor scuffles, a border dispute between China and India has again turned fatal. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a bloody brawl with Chinese troops on Monday in the Galwan Valley, close to Aksai Chin, an area controlled by China but claimed by both countries. It is unclear if or how many Chinese soldiers died. Both sides have accused the other of overstepping the de facto border, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that runs along the western sector of the valley. The details of the encounter remain confused, however, and may never be fully clear.

The two nuclear-armed neighbors are now attempting a rapid deescalation of tensions, even as some jingoistic and hawkish voices in both countries are demanding greater defiance and aggression. For its part, China had already moved large numbers of troops and armaments to the region, while India has also reportedly reinforced its position, though New Delhi has been less vocal about its military strength there.