søndag 4. juli 2021

As China-India Border Construction Heats up, So Do Confrontations

Recent China-India clashes follow a trend: The surest way to forecast flashpoints is by keeping an eye on infrastructure developments along the border. The pattern of border industrialization and infrastructure development serving as flashpoints is best evidenced by the fact that the last two major clashes, the Doklam standoff and the Galwan valley clashes, also resulted from infrastructure disputes.

The 2017 Doklam dispute was catalyzed by Chinese attempts to build a road within Bhuta’s Doklam region. Indian troops reached the scene to assist their Bhutanese allies and protect the strategically important Siliguri Corridor (the corridor that connects mainland India to its northeastern states), which is only 80 kilometers from Doklam ridge. Similarly, the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes occurred over India’s construction of a road bridge in the valley that connected the important Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road to Durbuk in Ladakh. Although the bridge lies firmly within Indian territory, it is only 7 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which provoked the Chinese.