Monday, July 6, 2020

Border tensions between China and India in the Himalayas

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Border disputes are re-emerging between India and China, three years after the face-to-face meeting of two and a half months which the two Asian giants had lent themselves to on the Doklam plateau, in the Sikkim region, which connects with Bhutan. Wednesday, May 27, the day after a crisis meeting around the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, 5,000 soldiers took the road to Ladakh, in the Himalayas, to reinforce the Indian military personnel already posted along the Line of effective control (Line of Actual Control, LAC).

This border operates a demarcation of 3,488 kilometers on either side of Nepal, since the lightning war which the two nuclear powers had fought in 1962, at the end of which Beijing had taken over territories hitherto located in India. The People's Liberation Army has reportedly sent equivalent reinforcements in recent days.

Everything is ready for yet another confrontation, in the zone which separates the passes of Karakoram (5,540 meters above sea level) in the north, and Shipki La (3,930 meters) in the south. With, between the two, the Galwan river valley and the famous Pangong Tso lake, well known to hikers in search of lunar landscapes.

American President Donald Trump offered mediation on Wednesday when Beijing had just announced that the situation was "Globally stable and under control". Delhi, for its part, warns that "The sovereignty and the territorial integrity of India will be defended, while at the same time making all the necessary diplomatic efforts".

Charge of illegal incursions

This new fever started on May 5, shortly after the snow melted, when Indian and Chinese soldiers suddenly clashed on the banks of Pangong Tso. Dozens of soldiers were reportedly injured on both sides, according to the Bloomberg news agency. On May 22 and 23, representatives of the two armies tried to find common ground to ease the tension, but without success.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In full tension on Kashmir, Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping meet for an "informal summit"

India accuses China of carrying out illegal incursions into its home. China criticizes India for violating the status quo of 1962 by carrying out work – a road and a bridge – near Daulat Beg Oldie, the last village before reaching the Karakoram pass. These infrastructures stem from the unilateral initiative taken by India in the region under the wrathful eye of China, in August 2019. As part of the takeover of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the government Modi split the region to give birth to two "Union territories" directly administered by Delhi.

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