torsdag 30. juli 2020

India and China race to build along a disputed frontier

India and China are trying to out-build each other along their disputed Himalayan border. A new road to a high-altitude Indian forward air base is said to have been one of the main triggers for a clash with Chinese troops last month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The 255km (140-mile) Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road - which winds through mountain passes up to the world's highest airstrip more than 5,000m above sea level in the Ladakh region - was finished last year after nearly two decades of work. Its completion could increase India's ability to move men and materiel rapidly in a conflict. The 15 June clash, in Ladakh's Galwan Valley, gave rise to concerns that tensions between the two nuclear powers could boil over. They have never agreed on the exact position of their 3,500km border, and their armies - two of the world's largest - come face-to-face at many points along the rough, inhospitable terrain.