Tensions Flare Between China and India Over Border Dispute

Over the years, pockets in Ladakh have seen several flashpoints between China and India.
September 1, 2020, 10:37am
ladakh
Indian army soldiers drive vehicles along mountainous roads as they take part in a military exercise at Thikse in Leh district of the union territory of Ladakh on July 4, 2020. Photo: AFP / Mohd Arhaan ARCHER / ALTERNATE CROP

Tensions flared in the disputed Ladakh region over the weekend in the latest standoff between China and India. 

Over the years, pockets in Ladakh, particularly along the Line of Actual Control, have seen several flashpoints between China and India. The two nuclear powers have been trying to resolve their dispute since the 1990s

At present, parts of Ladakh—an expansive mountainous region in the northern and eastern Kashmir—are administered by both India and China. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the demarcation line that separates the two sides. 

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In a statement on Monday, August 31, India’s Ministry of Defense accused China’s People Liberation Army of “provocative military movements” on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake in eastern Ladakh.

India said it “preempted” Chinese military activities on Saturday, August 29, and “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground.”

“PLA troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in Eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo,” the ministry said in a statement. 

India did not elaborate on the specifics of the ground dispute. 

“The Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity,” it added. 

China has denied India’s allegations and said it would not be the first to escalate the situation in the disputed region. 

According to the Chinese state tabloid Global Times, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that Beijing “has always been committed to maintaining stability along the China-India border and will not be the first to complicate or escalate the situation.”

According to The Times, Yi said In a press briefing on Sunday, August 30, that China remained firm in “safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity” but added that it was “ready to manage all kinds of issues through dialogue with the Indian side.”

China’s military also accused Indian troops of crossing the Line of Actual Control, which Chinese state media called “a blatant provocative move that seriously infringed on China's territorial sovereignty, and undermined peace and stability in the China-India border area.”

Times of India reported on Tuesday, September 1 that commander-level discussions were underway between China and India. 

The exchange is the latest provocation in a longstanding dispute between both nations. 

In June, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with China along the disputed border. India said there were casualties from both sides, but China has not confirmed this.