Both India and China have moved troops to their shared Himalayan border after skirmishes between their two armies have heightened tensions between the rival nations. A number of attacks earlier this May left hundreds of soldiers injured and offers the worrying possibility that the two Asian powerhouses might escalate their offensives.
According to The Guardian, China has not only been moving thousands of troops to the disputed border area, but it is also expanding its military airbase in the region. The specific region where Chinese troops are now setting up tents, vehicles, and machinery is along the eastern Ladakh border.
The region has been a point of contention between the two nations since 1962, when China invaded the Indian territory, leading to a short war. India still considers the region its territory and not China’s.
India responded to the Chinese troop increases by bringing in several battalions to regions along the border dubbed “operational alert areas.” India is also bringing in additional reinforcement troops.
The heightened activity comes after Indian and Chinese troops engaged in two different skirmishes on May 5 and May 9 at the border regions of Pangong Lake and North Sikkim in Ladakh. Over 100 soldiers from both countries were injured during the clash.
India’s external affairs ministry has blamed the Middle Kingdom for initiating the escalation by claiming that the Chinese army had been “hindering” India’s normal patrolling patterns.
“This escalation is serious; I don’t think this is just a localized incident. China’s behavior is more aggressive this time, backed up by a fairly large number of troops, which is not typical of this border where troop levels tend to be low on both sides,” explained Ashok K. Kantha, a former Indian ambassador to China and current director of Delhi’s Institute of Chinese Studies.
“It could be a territorial claim or part of a wider messaging to India that they need to be more mindful of China on sensitive geopolitical issues,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry has released its own statement on the border crisis.
“China is committed to safeguarding the security of its national territorial sovereignty, as well as safeguarding peace and stability in the China-India border areas,” the statement read.
The tensions have not gone unnoticed. Even US President Donald Trump has voiced his concern, claiming that he is “ready, willing, and able” to help the two nations reduce the border dispute conflict.
This is not the first international relations scuffle that has befallen the Middle Kingdom of late. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, China also recently accused the United States of potentially starting a new Cold War.