- The border dispute tension escalated between India and China on Monday evening i.e. June 15 that claimed 20 Indian soldiers and reportedly 43 Chinese soldiers’ lives.
- After the failure of several talks among the top military commanders from both countries, troops of India and China were disengaged in the valley.
- In the backdrop of the virus crisis and US-China tensions, both India and China are emerging as strategic rivals. US support to India is fueling the pressure.
- Troops from Indian and Chinese were without firearms, and they fought with hands and improvised weapons in Galwan Valley
- The deadly-clash happened at a time when both nations are struggling internally due to coronavirus crisis.
The border dispute has been running from long between the nuclear-armed neighbours, but on Monday evening due to a sharp intensification of the tension between the troops of both the countries, at least 20 Indian soldiers have been killed in the deadly clashes with Chinese troops.
On Tuesday, the Indian Army confirmed that the deaths followed a violent face-off in the strategically significant Galwan Valley in Himalaya. Initially, the Army said that three soldiers were killed in the brutal clashes. However, later, they confirmed that more 17 soldiers have died due to critical injuries and exposure to sub-zero temperatures in the high-altitude terrain.
As per the latest news from news agency ANI, sources had confirmed about 45 Chinese soldiers have been seriously wounded or killed in the deadly clashes on the Indo-China border.
Border tension escalates, led to deadly clashes
Both India and China are blaming each other of the fierce clash. The Indian government had accused the Chinese troops of not respecting the line of actual control. However, Beijing's foreign ministry has said that it was the Indian troops who crossed the territory and provoked and attacked the Chinese soldiers, which led to the casualties.
When one side India is battling the relentless virus crisis creating health emergency and economic crisis, the tension was increasing at Indian borders. Since early May, Chinese and Indian troops have been locked in a standoff over disputed territory. Despite numerous rounds of talks between the army commanders of both the side to make some peace and de-escalate friction, it seems all efforts went in vain.
The Indian Army has confirmed that after the talks between the high-level military commanders, troops of both countries disengaged in the valley.
China, India emerging as strategic rivals in the pandemic environment
The pandemic environment has added to the tension between these neighbouring countries. At an informal summit in October, China and India have displayed a friendly relation with each other. However, now the two neighbouring countries view each other as the strategic competitors.
In a time when China faced worldwide criticism due to the handling of the virus, India also sees it as the trade opportunity to attract more companies in India, and Indian prime minister has already mentioned this in his speech to the nation.
Thanks to the Great Virus Crisis (GVC) and the Honk Kong issue, which has further led to increased tension between the US and China. Another fuel to the ignition is the strategic support of US President Donald Trump to India.
On this deadly clash, a senior administration from the US has cited that the US was monitoring the circumstances and conveyed the most profound condolences to soldiers' families.
The bitter history is knocking again
There is a long history of the border dispute between India and China. They fought a painful Sino-India war in 1962 but could not resolve their border issues.
China attacked India on October 20, 1962, when India was least expecting it and was not prepared for it. The battle ended after a month on November 21, once China announced a ceasefire.
Since 1970, the conflict had not claimed any lives. But recently the tension has been escalating after Chinese troops placed positions in areas which were earlier patrolled by India.
Troops battled without any firearms
To prevent any accidental escalation of violence in the valley, under mutually accepted protocols, the border soldiers do not carry firearms in the disputed territory. The Indian analysts have confirmed that the recent clash involved hand to hand fight and improvised weapons. The location of the conflict is also crucial as it supervises a new Indian road that New Delhi can use to send its most forward base.
India conducts a yearly army exercise in Ladakh to establish positions in the disputed territory, which is typically patrolled and claimed by the Indians, but this Spring India had cancelled it. Now Indian analysts have accused Chinese patrols of taking advantage of this situation.
China is internally struggling with a new coronavirus outbreak
The India-China tension escalated at a time when China is facing a difficult time due to the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in Beijing. Also, it is struggling to revive its economy, which is significantly affected post the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese military expert compliments Indian troops amid India-China standoff
Amid the escalating tension between India and China, a rare compliment has come from a Chinese military expert. The expert has praised the Indians to have the world's biggest and experienced mountain troops adorned with some of the best weaponry befitted for such terrain in the Tibetan border. The senior editor of Modern Weaponry magazine Huang Guozhi, who is also a Chinese military expert, has said this in an article published in China.
The tension is much escalated between India and China post the brutal fight on Monday evening. Now it is to be seen whether it will result in another war or both the countries would be able to move on without harm to each other. A lot of which depends on June 18, 2020, intense discussion between the Major General of Indian Army and Chinese military officers.