India and China have their first deadly clashes in 45 years

Tensions on the 3,500km border are unlikely to subside soon

6/16/2020 8:56:00 PM

Tensions on the 3,500km border are unlikely to subside soon

The border affray is a sign of worrying military escalation between Asia’s giants

THE TWO armies each had guns, artillery and tanks to the rear. But they wielded only sticks and stones at the front, as night fell on June 15th. That was deadly enough. When the brawl ended, and the final rocks had been thrown, at least 20 Indian troops lay dead in the picturesque Galwan valley, high in the mountains of Ladakh. Chinese casualties are unknown. They were the first combat fatalities on the mountainous border between India and China in 45 years, drawing to a close an era in which Asia’s two largest powers had managed their differences without bloodshed.

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The Indian and Chinese armies had been locked in a stand-off at three sites in Ladakh, an Indian territory at the northernmost tip of the country, for over a month. In April the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) broke off from exercises and occupied a series of remote border posts along the disputed frontier, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides quickly moved troops and heavy weapons towards the LAC. As troops squared off, punch-ups erupted twice in May, at Pangong lake, in Ladakh, and at Naku La in Sikkim, 1,200km to the east, resulting in serious injuries on both sides. In total, the PLA grabbed around 40 to 60 square kilometres of territory that India considers to be its own, estimates Lieutenant-General H.S. Panag, a former head of the Indian army’s northern command.

Even then, India’s government played down the severity of the crisis, eager to avoid giving the impression that it had been caught napping on the border—and mindful that a nationalist backlash would make it harder to defuse the situation. As diplomats and generals worked the phones and met at the border, things seemed to be calming. On June 9th India’s government said China had pulled back troops, tents and vehicles at the Galwan valley and another site (though not the lake), and that India had reciprocated. On June 13th General M.M. Naravane, India’s army chief, cheerfully declared that talks had been “very fruitful”.

The deadly clash two days later suggests they were clearly not fruitful enough. India’s army initially said that an officer and two soldiers had been killed “during the de-escalation process”, though army sources later privately acknowledged a far higher toll. The army added that “both sides suffered casualties”. Indian press reports suggest that the troops had been meeting to discuss the details of a withdrawal when a fight broke out, causing Indian soldiers to fall down a slope. “The Chinese seem to have brought iron rods, sticks studded with metal tips and stones,” says Nitin Gokhale, an Indian defence analyst. “The Indians also had some of their equipment.” Even 24 hours after the clash, an Indian major and captain were reported to be in Chinese custody.

China’s government was unrepentant. It said that India had gone back on earlier agreements and “twice crossed the border line for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel”. Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a state-run tabloid, acknowledged the Chinese casualties in a tweet. If PLA soldiers were killed, these would be China’s first fatalities in combat, outside of peacekeeping, since skirmishes with Vietnam in the 1980s.

The immediate cause of the current crisis seems to have been India’s build-up of infrastructure in eastern Ladakh, including a key north-south road, making it easier to move troops and redressing China’s advantage in logistics. “What we’re seeing right now is the friction of both sides adjusting to a more capable and more resolved Indian approach to the LAC,” says Rohan Mukherjee of Yale-NUS College. But the two countries have also been carried to this point by wider geopolitical currents.

Though India and China have been rivals for a half-century—the PLA thumped India’s army in a brief border war in 1962—their rivalry has grown more intense over the past decade. The border has turned stormier, with Chinese incursions in Ladakh occurring in 2013 and 2014, and a 73-day stand-off on the edge of Bhutan in 2017. Last year China was irked by India's decision to revoke the constitutional autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir and carve out Ladakh into a separate territory, ruled directly from Delhi. Indian officials also ramped up rhetoric on retaking the entirety of the old princely state—including a sliver handed to China by Pakistan in 1963. India is anxious over China’s growing economic and political clout on India’s periphery—in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka—and over the influx of Chinese warships into the Indian Ocean.

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In response, successive Indian governments have tilted closer to America, with which India signed a $3.5bn arms deal in February, and China’s rivals in Asia, such as Vietnam. A quartet of China-sceptic countries known as the “Quad”, comprising America, Australia, India and Japan, now meet regularly. Though India is at pains to stress that the Quad is not an alliance, Australia may soon join naval exercises involving the other three countries, lending a naval dimension to the group.

The violent turn in the border dispute is likely to accelerate these trends. “We are at a worrisome and extremely serious turning-point in our relations with China,” says Nirupama Rao, a former head of India’s diplomatic service and ambassador to China. She notes a "clear asymmetry of power" between the two countries. India is likely to deepen its relationship with America and increase its defence budget, says Mr Mukherjee. As both sides shift resources to the border, “there will be a period of adjustment in which things may be especially heated,” he says.

Yet India now faces military and diplomatic turbulence with three of its neighbours. On June 12th an Indian citizen was killed by Nepalese border guards, amid a separate border row between India and Nepal. Relations with Pakistan are also fraught after an Indian soldier was killed by Pakistani firing in Kashmir on June 14th and, the next day, two Indian officials in Pakistan were allegedly abducted for more than ten hours and tortured by “Pakistani agencies”. And then more soldiers were sent tumbling to their deaths by China’s troops.

Read more: The Economist »

That happens when a country (India 🇮🇳, in this case) receives military counsels from troublemakers like USA and the criminal entity 'israel'. Modi should learn that mother China 🇨🇳 is not 🇧🇩 Bangladesh. 🇨🇳 China has global aspirations Most dangerous country,? Quote : THE TWO armies each had guns, artillery and tanks to the rear. But they wielded only sticks and stones at the front, as night fell In total, the PLA grabbed around 40 to 60 square kilometres of territory that India considers to be its own..

Why India and China dont use the atomicbomb to clear the problem of the lonly territiory ? Time for 1.3 Billion Free Indians to teach chinese some democracy ChinaLiedPeopleDied The Indian government paid public respect to the 20 Indian soldiers killed in Galvan. However, even after 48 hours, China continued to cover up its casualties like crona deaths

india stated wars with Pakistan, Nepal and china simultaneously. Knp cina jadi berantem sama banyak negara mirzatalks Is this your way of saying India is fucked up? Good now India is fighting for its rights and let this small states to know they are dependent on us not on them only Uk news agencies can do free services to china and pakistan against India. ChinaLiedPeopleDied BalochistanIsNotPakistan

china from all its neighbours Feel the incompetent fury in these comments The Economist is China propaganda. Why should you always write 'headlines' against present Indian Government? Just because you taught English to top 10% educated elite in India, you think that you can control 130 crores through those 10%? Today's India under Modi Government is more aware than your journalists.

It is China thats going to have difficult choices As populist government usually do... Brits peddling Chinese propaganda. India is the only country in the neighborhood settled border dispute with Bangladesh peacefully and accepted PCA recommendation on maritime boundary with Bangladesh.. Britain still has boundary dispute with Spain and France.

All China allies. The Chinese really don’t want Trump elected which is what all of this is about Stooges of China can try whatever they want. They will be getting thr asses kicked. An Indian motorbike tragically fell off the cliff and 20 people died. It’s an accident. Is there some sort of collusion between China, India and Pakistan that prohibits all sides from using firearms in Kashmir? They always kill each other using primal weapons such as stone and sticks. Indian and Paki troops had similar conflict and did so last year.

Unfortunately, Japanese medias don't report the news compared with Korean issues. This news must be much more influential on Asia, because India and China will be one of biggest economic countries within 10 years. As Asian community, they should build friendship! No Confliction! So sticks and stones do break bones. Hope there was no name calling.

Statistically insignificant incident considering population metrics. Nothing will change China not only suffocating its own population ,killing them , torturing them but also creating disturbances all around the border. Chinese viruses will be thrown back to wall of china. 45+ chinese killed and it will continue...

India should put more money on live hoods such as education and medical instead of wasting very limited resources on these badlands battles with Chinese. India politicians knew exactly that their army lack capacity to start a total war against China, but still they trigger conflicts to boast their fake achievement in order to pave way for themselves. Indian people should stand up fighting this kind of corrupted government.

That’s the great news. These Chinese virus mutated dogs are the real problem and they must be taught a lesson. Nothing can stop any country from increasing thr infrastructure capabilities in border area. Now time to take strong action against china narendramodi Jee 哈哈😄,说那么多干嘛,放学来打架啊,怕你不成 CCPChina is just a bully regime, and threat to humanity

StandWithIndia IndianArmy is so great Another paid article Another example of china's evil aggression in every corner of the world. No escape as long as ccp stays Inaccurate analysis. According our experience in conflicts with India, when India lost more and defeated brutally in borders, it means peace in next 50 years. 1962-2020 is not bad 2020-2070 would be OK too

20 soldiers killed in a rock fight? Doubtful. Sad even in time like this we are still fighting maybe the human do need to be part of endangered species. India military officer violated sino-india agreement by invading China controlled side of thank area. They deserve punishment. Don’t worry.Just 20 idiots fell off a motorbike.🤣

China wants land,minerals and money. . Like in Africa presents itself like a developer but on the other hand digging their land and consuming minerals. Same doing with Balochistan now eyeing Afghanistan Trying to grab land on Indo-China borders. Ecuador beware. . Unfear of war and love of peace are not in conflict.

CHina flexes muscle and all the jingoistic right wing Hindutva go silent LadakhBorder 8pm China dieing coz of accusations like CCPVirus Covid_19 Now they are trying to create a war like situation to hide all this .. Land grabbing is their favourite game. . This is upsetting, Tibet, Asin Chin, Taiwan, China sea islands, Hong Kong, Africa been taken over already. Is everyone asleep ?

An Indian motorbike tragically fell off the cliff and 20 people died. It’s an accident. An Indian motorbike tragically fell off the cliff and 20 people died. It’s an accident. 睜眼說瞎話 But they wielded only sticks and stones at the front, as night fell on June 15th. o.o this is vaguely comical. China is spreading her wings, flexing muscles. The Anaconda has come of age.

Given the size of the population, the life loss should not be exaggerated to make further loss A guess massive mountain ranges dont neccesarily make good neighbors like fences Fight... fight... fight... fight... Brilliant India is a nation that always wants to be superior. India has the worst diplomacy with the neighbors. I appreciate that China has taught tremendously.

China is taking advantage of lack of unity amongst democratic countries to pick them off one by one. It is imperative that all countries must unite, whatever be their other differences and take on China in a coordinated manner even if means having Trump to lead the charge!! Hawa Nao wanaulizana nini waiting for player3 to join.....

BoycottChineseProduct eat dirt chi-na-ese Is 2020 over yet ? What India is doing in Kashmir its human rights violations and with all its neighbors need serious look from United Nations. Its time probably to give lessons to Fascist Indian BJP rightwing govt China's end has begun My money is on India. This is so sad. In such volatile times , it is so unfortunate to see either sides like this. Espcly china should've practiced restraint given the dire cirsumstances it has put the world in to . Such unwise souls. So sad. Disgusted to say the least.

China is like nazi before WW2. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South China Sea, Australia, India... China is expanding territories. Hello Indians, It's no Indo-Bangladesh Border where only you can shoot. Every country isn’t weak like us. Don't treat everyone equally. 😆 Two suspicious nuclear actors in a dust-up in a remote region. Not ideal.

jacobthomas1960 Now 1.25 Billion Indians Must DO their Duty too! & ACT like the Japanese AFTER World War 2& kick out chinese goods from OUR Life forever&ONLY intense patriotism of Indians Can DO the'BOYCOT CHINA MISSION' a grand success& Make the Dragon a Mouse too India tries to light a gunpowder barrel

India deliberately invades China and undermines peace This would be something good for the news to focus on? The people want real news! BoycottChina 🪳 THINK!! Why is it you are hearing the death count form India's side but not form China's side, while China demands India has invaded territory that is rightfully theirs.

Just Nuke china into oblivion and be done with it BoycottChineseProducts It's time to action on China. Stop. Chinese propaganda all over the world. Let's world together. We don't want Chinese propaganda and Chinese products. So what let it be to balance mother earth 1.4 vs1.3.

India says multiple soldiers killed in clash along contested border with ChinaIndian army says one of its officers and two soldiers were killed in a 'violent faceoff' on the contested border with China, the first such incident in decades between the neighbors. Follow Bjccns hongkonger: god fuck china 2020 can suck it.

India says officer, two soldiers killed in 'violent faceoff' on border with ChinaAn Indian officer and two soldiers were killed in a 'violent faceoff' with Chinese troops on the contested border, the Indian Army said on Tuesday, reporting the first casualties in decades to result from a clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours. Global times says 5 PLA killed, 11 Injured. China opened Pandora Box. Indians will start hating and boycotting Chinese products. Who is the aggressor? These Chinese bastards are part of United Nations and are permanent member and for them Dalai Lama is an enemy whose the third world nation now dimwit humans

India-China Border Dispute Turns DeadlyThe countries’ security forces clashed in one of the disputed areas in the Himalayan mountains, killing three Indian military personnel. We support china Can someone tell me is the the result of wolf diplomacy? why china is endangering the world? Please end this shit show... Look at all these pakistani slaves licking Chinese boots 👇

India-China Border Dispute Turns Deadly, With 20 Indian Soldiers KilledBorder tensions between India and China turned deadly for the first time in decades when the two countries’ armies clashed in a disputed area in the Himalayan Mountains, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead, according to India. China needs to be removed from the United Nations. They are a threat to every other country in the world. we having good nighbours 🤝🤝👏👏 Time for the world to act and stop communist

India says 20 soldiers killed in clash with Chinese troopsSRINAGAR, India (AP) — The Indian Army has raised the death toll in a clash with Chinese troops on a disputed Himalayan border from three to 20 Indian soldiers. \n The army said in a... India is being used PLA crossed the border of India. Chinese Foreign Affair say Peace Peace. Now what a coward. China if you have guts fights one to one. Will destroy you. Let’s go India

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