For some time now, tension has been fraught at the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Both sides are existing in a constant state of apprehension with the government of both countries still maintaining that nothing is escalating and that they both are working to maintain peace and stability.
Currently, the soldiers at both sides of India and China are engaged in a standoff along the Indo-Sino border area that runs across Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
The LAC came about after the India-China war of 1962 but the border area has often had small spats between soldiers of the two countries erupting due to the ambiguous nature of it.
Now it seems to be taking a more serious turn since as per a Reuters report Indian and Chinese soldiers have started to camp out at the Galwan Valley near Ladakh and accusing the other of trespassing.
This eventually escalated to the Chinese side getting more reinforcement with them setting up between 80 to 100 tents on their side. The Indian side has not been quiet either with them setting up 60 tents on their side.
The governments of both countries are also involved in all this now. But let us take a look at the timeline of it all and how it came about:
On 5th May a violent fight broke out in the Eastern Ladakh area of the border which included about 250 Indian and Chinese soldiers.
The fight continued on to the next day but was eventually ended by the commanders.
Another fistfight broke out a few days later at the Naku La sector in North Sikkim. As per reports around 11 Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured with about 150 having participated in it.
As was expected after this, the Chinese military took to increasing their patrolling and strength at Pangong Tso lake, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldi.
Seeing this, Indian military also took to doing the same in case of any attack. A few Indian sources also reported that the Chinese military were trying to create hindrance for normal patrolling by the Indian troops.
India’s Infrastructure Projects
Reuters in a report said that the possible aggressive stance by China could be due to the Indian infrastructure projects like constructing roads and air-strips at those particular regions.
Doing so would clash with China’s own Belt and Road initiative, while some said that these projects would encroach on the Chinese side.
Indian military officials and diplomats had also stated that doing these construction projects could trigger the Chinese side.
Nirupama Rao, former Indian foreign secretary said that, “Today, with our infrastructure reach slowly extending into areas along the LAC, the Chinese threat perception is raised.”
Apparently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to increase connectivity with these areas and thus has approved the construction of 66 roadways along the Chinese border.
The Galwan valley is one of those areas that will get its roadway. Shyam Saran, a former Indian foreign secretary also was quoted as saying that, “The road is very important because it runs parallel to the LAC and is linked at various points with the major supply bases inland.”
He further added that, “It remains within our side of the LAC. It is construction along this new alignment which appears to have been challenged by the Chinese.”
PM Modi on Tuesday had a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, CDS General Bipin Rawat and the three Service Chiefs to go over and review the situation.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had also held a similar meeting with Gen. Rawat and the three Service Chiefs but as of now, there are no reports on what action is being taken.
Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister gave a 90-minute convened press conference on Sunday, however, he did not mention India at all.
At the moment all that is known is that the infrastructure projects will not be stopped and the Indian military has increased its strength on certain border areas.
Reports have said that NSA Doval is aware and closely monitoring the situation as it progresses along the LAC in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and North Sikkim.
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