The Chinese Communist Party has been dominating the front pages of the media with its recent military actions in the Taiwan Strait, but the territorial dispute between India and China, 4,500 kilometers away from Taiwan, looks more likely to get out of hand, CNN reports.
The armies of the two nuclear powers, Communist China and India, fought a deadly physical battle in the Himalayas 16 months ago along the Line of Actual Control between the two countries. Now tensions appear to be rising again along the border between India and China, with unconfirmed reports that Chinese and Indian soldiers were briefly detained by each other and that local troops have reinforced their defensive positions, while talks to de-escalate the situation appear to be at an impasse.
China and India established the Line of Actual Control after the 1962 border war, but the two countries have often accused each other of crossing the border or trying to expand their territories. Since then, a series of mostly non-lethal conflicts have erupted over the location of the border between India and China. However, a bloody physical battle in June 2020 left at least 20 Indian soldiers and four PLA dead, the worst Line of Actual Control clash in more than 40 years. Chinese and Indian military leaders held face-to-face talks to ease lingering tensions.
The 13th round of military-level talks between India and China on Oct. 10 apparently failed to resolve the impasse; earlier discussions between India and China made some progress toward border tranquility, but India’s defense ministry issued a statement on Nov. 11 accusing the Chinese Communist Party of not cooperating. The statement reads, “The situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was caused by the Chinese side’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo and violate bilateral agreements. The Indian side has therefore offered constructive proposals to resolve the remaining (border segment) areas, but the Chinese side does not agree and cannot offer any forward-looking proposals.”
Beijing’s view is quite different, as Long Shaohua, spokesman for the Communist Party’s Western War Zone, said through a statement that China is committed to promoting a de-escalation of the border situation and has shown full sincerity in order to maintain the overall situation of relations between the two armies, yet India still insists on making unreasonable and unrealistic demands, making negotiations more difficult. The Global Times, the official media of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has also reported at length that India has caused new trouble in the eastern section of the border.
Earlier this year, there were reports of real progress between India and China, including satellite photos of the dismantling of Chinese border fortifications. While the global media has since taken much of the focus off the Sino-Indian border, even more so since the recent warming of the situation in the Taiwan Strait, the past few weeks have seen reports of new clashes along the Line of Actual Control, and the Global Times has noted that Chinese experts have warned of the risk of new conflict, saying that Beijing must not only refuse to budge at the negotiating table, but also be prepared to defend itself against new Indian military aggression.
The Global Times points the finger at the U.S. as to why the situation along the India-China border is heating up, and the situation in the Taiwan Strait is tense. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did go to Washington last month to participate in the first face-to-face leaders’ meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia. It is in the interest of this informal strategic forum to counter the rise of the Chinese Communist Party in Asia.
The Global Times quoted Lin Minwang, deputy director of the Center for South Asian Studies at Fudan University, as saying, “In the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, the United States attaches great importance to India. After (U.S. President) Biden came to power the U.S. and India interacted frequently and intensified collaboration to jointly implement containment against China, so India feels confident and has the bottom line to make unreasonable demands on China.”
As the PLA frequently disturbs Taiwan and sends 150 military aircraft this month, the Global Times asserts that the U.S. and Japan are pushing the situation around Taiwan to the brink, creating a sense of urgency that could trigger war at any time. In a report on the situation in the Himalayan region, Global Times 11 stressed that the PLA border garrison is ready for the coming confrontation.