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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

World Politics >>> China’s Other Tense Border: India

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Picture Credit: Maninderjeet Singh Sidhu

China has recently made headlines due to multiple developing tensions between itself and several other nations. The most recent being triggered in Taiwan when China sent 150 aircrafts into the region within the short span of four days. According to Taiwan’s Defense Minister, this was the most serious provocation in almost 40 years. China’s aggressive navy operation in the Indo-Pacific region has also sparked a response from the US, UK and one of China’s former key trading partners, Australia, through the Aukus pact.

Another cause of tension between China and its western counterparts is China’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative ” which aims to develop infrastructure in 70 different countries across Asia, Europe and Africa. A diplomat commented on the Belt and Road Initiative as “ [China] funding development infrastructure projects, especially for ports, highways and railways to build in different countries”. Many Western countries viewed this project as a means for China to expand its political and regional links with developing countries to enlarge its influence in the world.

Picture Source: Wikipedia

However, China now has to deal with another growing superpower in the Asian region, India. Just 16 months ago, Chinese and Indian military personnel engaged in a missive brawl on the Himalayas along the “Line of Actual Control '' (LAC) which is the border between the two countries. Twenty Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers were killed as a result of that engagement.

Now, tensions are slowly on the rise between the two states as disagreements over the border surmount once again. India and China went to war in 1962 over the region and had established the LAC, however they were never able to establish a precise border. This has led to constant accusations from both parties of overstepping the boundaries.

Officials from both parties have had multiple discussions regarding the issue, and the 13th one was held last Sunday, but it did not end well. The Indian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Monday, accusing China of no longer cooperating, commenting “The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC has been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements ”.

Picture Source: LA Times website

The spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Colonel Long Shaohua commented in response “China has made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation....However, India still insisted on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which made negotiations more difficult”. This is the type of constant back and forth that we are seeing between the two, with no tangible progress being made through the discussion.

However, why is there still so much distrust and animosity between these neighbors? China blames this deteriorating relationship with its neighbor on the US. India is part of the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue” or better known as “the Quad” along with the US, Japan and Australia. Fundamentally it is seen as a strategic group which aims to reduce Chinese domination and influence. China blames the US for stirring an “anti-China” narrative. Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University commented that Quad members “will not stop hyping up the ‘China-threat’ theory”.

October 14th 2021 | 1.45 PM

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