India and China are again on the brink of a military clash. Beijing and New Delhi are actively building up infrastructure on the border, thousands of troops have been sent to the Himalayas. One awkward move can lead to an escalation of the situation.
Beijing holds New Delhi responsible. Chinese authorities are convinced that the Indian military is illegally penetrating into Chinese territory. New Delhi denies the reports. Both sides have sent thousands of soldiers to the Himalayas. According to The New York Times, Indian authorities moved some units based along the Pakistani border to the mountains. The standoff is escalating.
Last June, the two countries were already on the verge of the most serious clash in half a century. In the Ladakh Valley, border guards armed with sticks and stones clashed hand-to-hand. About 500 people from both sides participated in the brawl, and several dozen were killed. The sides traditionally blamed each other for what happened.
The territorial dispute dates back to the days of the British Empire, when two conventional boundaries divided China and British India: the “McMahon Line” and the “Ard-Johnson Line. The Indians recognized the partition, but the Chinese did not, claiming that they had lost large territories because of it. In 1959 they expressed their indignation in a diplomatic note, three years later war broke out.
The borders formed after this conflict are called the Line of Actual Control. It was never demarcated, so New Delhi and Beijing understand it differently. The parties have tried many times to solve the problem of the disputed territory; mutual mistrust complicates the situation. Periodically there are skirmishes here.
However, despite all the difficulties, both countries are interested in putting an end to the territorial dispute, because neither Beijing nor New Delhi needs war.