Can China afford India as an enemy?

india china

The recent clash between India and China at the Himalayan border has given rise to disputes. Both forces have agreed to communicate and exercise non-violence. The countries have decided not to carry guns and attempt to dismantle any chances of the long-running territorial dispute becoming a war.

The Indian media reported the Chinese People’s Liberation Army dammed the mountain streams and unblocked them as the Indian troops approached. As a result the Indian troops were swept off their feet. The Chinese troops took this as a chance to sweep down and attack with sticks infused with nails.Also Read– Chinese foreign ministry claims Galwan Valley

Both units fought in hand to hand combat for several hours. Many Indian soldiers tumbled down the mountain in the clash. The casualties were 20 Indian soldiers and dozens injured and some taken captive. China has released no data on their losses.

Before the clash, no soldier had died at the border for over 50 years. The clash has broken a long standing consensus between the two countries. The two countries had fought a battle over the disputed area in 1962 and 1967 however they remained mostly peaceful afterwards.

Leaders Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping cannot afford to look weak on issues of territorial control and national sovereignty.

Indian China Border
India’s death toll at the disputed Himalayan border has risen to 20 soldiers.

China accused India of deliberate provocation

China previously accused India of “deliberate provocation”, and criticized the Indian troops for building infrastructure in the disputed area. In return, India accused China of increasing patrol at the Line of Actual Control where there is risk of escalation.

“This appears to be a far more concerted push on China’s part to change the status quo,” said Andrew Small, a senior member at the German Marshall Fund. He added there was a clear growth of Chinese presence in the area. 

The Chinese military has been hardening its position in multiple locations, not simply conducting patrols across the LAC but building infrastructure and maintaining an ongoing presence.”

Taylor Fravel, a director of security studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes the actions from President Xi are due to the pressure the country is in.

READ MORE: Modi responds to the clash with China at the Himalayan border

“I feel it’s generally a response to the pressure Xi feels he is under. Because of Covid and the criticism China faced internationally, the economic crisis at home, and the concomitant deterioration of China-US relations, [Beijing] has taken a tough stance on a number of sovereignty issues as a way of signalling that China will not be cowed.”

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