Crisis at the top of the world: India masses its army on disputed Himalayan border with China after clashes with Xi Jinping’s forces in the region sparked fears of war between the nuclear-armed superpowers
- India is moving thousands of soldiers to its disputed border with China
- Earlier this month there were clashes between troops from both countries
- India’s foreign minister said they would ‘counter’ attempts to change the border
India has started massing troops along its disputed border with China after a clash between soldiers from the two nuclear-armed superpowers earlier this month.
Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said an unprecedented number of troops would be deployed along the 2,100-mile border.
Less than two weeks ago an ‘encroachment’ by Chinese soldiers leading to a skirmish with Indian troops sparked fears of war.
The incident on December 9, which followed recent joint US-India military exercises near the border, led to ‘minor injuries to personnel from both sides’, one source said.
India has started gathering thousands of troops along its disputed border with China after a skirmish between forces this month (pictured: a clash between forces in 2021)
The disputed border and the locations of clashes between India and China
Relations have been at rock-bottom between the two nations since a clash left 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops dead on their high-altitude frontier in June 2020.
‘Today we have a deployment of the Indian army on the China border that we have never had. It is done in order to counter Chinese deployment, which has been scaled up massively since 2020,’ Jaishankar said in Delhi on Monday.
India said the encounter began due to ‘encroachment’ by Chinese troops, while China’s foreign ministry said the situation on the border was ‘generally stable’, the BBC reported.
Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said an unprecedented number of troops was being deployed along the 2,100-mile border with China
The road to the Line of Actual Control at the Indian-Chinese Border in Tawang, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh
Indian and Chinese soldiers come face to face and sometimes end up fighting – mostly in hand-to-hand combat or with batons and stones.
This is due to an agreement signed between the two countries in 1996 that states neither side will use firearms within 1.2 miles (2km) of the border region, which is known as the Line of Actual Control.
The latest skirmish occurred after Chinese soldiers came close to an area near the Line of Actual Control where it had been agreed that neither side would patrol, sources said.
This move was ‘contested by… (Indian) troops in a firm and resolute manner’, one added.
After the skirmish both sides ‘immediately disengaged from the area’.
An Indian commander later held a meeting with a Chinese counterpart ‘to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquility’.
The incident took place in the Tawang Sector of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, all of which is claimed by China. Beijing refers to the area as South Tibet.