The nuclear-armed Asian countries, China and India have a long history of conflict along their 3,440 km shared border for decades. The dispute is over a hostile terrain that is situated at high altitude and runs through the Ladakh region which borders Tibet.
The recent clash on the night of 15th July 2020 has termed to be the deadliest clash since 1975 between China and India. It has also been the first time soldiers died in combat between China and India over the past 40 years. According to various sources, Indian patrol came across Chinese forces which resulted in an Indian commanding officer being pushed which confrontation. This resulted in hundreds of troops fighting and resulted in casualties on both sides. Chinese officials have accused Indian troops of crossing the border twice and Indians have also been accused of attacking Chinese personnel. It has been stated that around 20 Indian soldiers died while fighting at the disputed Himalayan border which runs along the Ladakh area of Kashmir. China has not released their number of casualties as Hu Xijin tweeted on 16th July 2020 that “….. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so as to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing.”
Both the nations have stated a very different point of view over what happened on June 15. India stated that it was a Chinese action that “reflected an intent to change the facts on the ground in violation of all our agreements to not change the status quo.”China stated that “Indian front line border forces openly broke the consensus reached.” Recent reports have stated that China and India have agreed to reduce border tensions. As Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated: “..agreed to maintain dialogue and jointly committed to promoting peace and tranquility in the border areas”
The dispute between China and India over their contested border in the Himalayas has been there for decades. Both countries fought a bloody war in 1962 which resulted in the formation of Line of Actual Control, the de facto boundary. Since then, there has been peace and silence from both sides along with few occurrences such as in 2013 and 2017, the recent clash adds up to it.
The Line of Actual Control is a rough distinction line which separates the territory of China and India. The dispute has been over the exact placement of the line, specifically the western Ladakh region. China administers Aksai Chin as part of Xinjiang, but India claims it as part of Ladakh. The line of actual control is highly tensed. There is a presence of rivers and lakes along with snowcaps which can result in shifting of line. The soldiers from both countries cross paths at various points while border platforms which at times result in scuffles. Since the LAC is not physically marked, both the armies send their troops to the area where they claim LAC to patrol and then retreat.
The violence high-up in the Himalayas, 14 000 between the two nuclear countries is a serious matter and can even result in a full-scale conflict if the tension between both states is not de-escalated quickly. The territorial dispute of Himalaya is a sensitive matter and since the border cannot be properly marked, it also becomes harder to resolve.