What are the reasons behind the recent India-China border flare-up? Di...
Jun 19, 2020
What are the reasons behind the recent India-China border flare-up? Discuss.
The India-China border has been witnessing tensions over the past month, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Recent incidents at the Pangong lake in Ladakh on May 5 and at Naku La in Sikkim on May 9 had led to injuries, caused by aggressive behaviour on both sides.
Face-off and stand-off situations occur along the LAC in areas where India and China have overlapping claim lines.
The LAC has never been demarcated. Differing perceptions are particularly acute in around two dozen spots across the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors of the India-China border.
The boundary in the Sikkim sector is broadly agreed, but has not been delineated.
Face-offs occur when patrols encounter each other in the contested zones between overlapping claim lines.
Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 detail rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, but have not always been adhered to.
The recent stand-off in Galwan valley, according to reports, was triggered by China moving in troops and equipment to stop construction activity by India.
While India said that this was well within India’s side of the LAC. The LAC was thought to be settled in this area which has not seen many incidents in the past, but China now appears to think otherwise.
The northern bank of Pangong lake has, however, been a point of contention where there are differing perceptions of the LAC.
The incident in Sikkim is somewhat unexpected as the contours of the LAC are broadly agreed to in this sector.
China has enjoyed an advantage in infrastructure as well as terrain that is more favourable to mobilisation.
India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents. Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.
The main differences are in the Western and Eastern sectors. India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin. In the east, China claims as much as 90,000 sq km, extending all across Arunachal Pradesh.
Both sides have now ruled out the status quo as a settlement, agreeing to meaningful and mutual adjustments.