INDIA AND CHINA DISPUTE: RECENT TENSIONS
Relations between India and China have been worsening in recent months. The two world powers are facing off against each other along their disputed border in the Himalayan region. Despite several military-level talks, tensions continue.
The year 2020 was particularly violent. The June clash in the Galwan Valley – fought with sticks and clubs, not guns – was the first fatal confrontation between the two sides since 1975.
India accused china of provoking military tensions twice within a week. China denied both charges and blamed India for the stand-off.
In September, China accused India of firing shots at its troops. India accused China of firing into the air.
If true, it would be the first time in 45 years that shots were fired at the border. A 1996 agreement prohibited the use of guns and explosives near the border. The military stand-off is mirrored by growing political tension, which has strained ties between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The reports say that in early May, Chinese forces put up tents, dug trenches and moved heavy equipment several kilometres inside what had been regarded by India as its territory. The move came after India built a road several hundred kilometres long connecting to a high-altitude forward air base which it reactivated in 2008.
As of 2020, India continues to maintain that the McMahon Line is the legal border in the east. China has never accepted that border, stating that Tibet was never independent when it signed the Simla Convention. The 1962 Sino-Indian War was fought in both disputed areas.
India decided to move approximately 12,000 additional workers to border regions to help complete Indian road projects. Around 8,000 workers would help Boarder roads organisation ‘s (BRO) infrastructure project, Project Vijayak, in Ladakh while some workers would also be allocated to other nearby border areas. The workers would reach Ladakh between 15 June and 5 July. The first train with over 1600 workers left Jharkhand on 14 June 2020 for Udhampur and from there the workers went on to assist BRO at the Sino-Indian border. Apart from completing the DS–DBO Road the workers would also be assisting the BRO in the construction of other border roads. Starting from June, the government announced up to 170% increase in minimum wages for those working along the India-China border, with the highest increase in wages going to employees in Ladakh. Experts state that the development of Indian infrastructure along the border was one of the causes for the standoffs.
Throughout the standoff China continues to build infrastructure near the LAC. Infrastructure includes roads, bridges, helipads and other military infrastructure such as camps.
Numerous Indian government officials said that border tensions would have no impact on trade between the two countries. Amid the increased visibility of calls for boycotting Chinese goods in the aftermath of the Galwan incidents, numerous industry analysts warned that a boycott would be counter-productive for India, would send out the wrong message to trade partners, and would have very limited impact on China, since both bilaterally as well as globally India is comparatively a much smaller trade power.