China & India play ‘who blinks first’ over tiny strategic area in Himalayas

Thursday, August 3, 2017
By Paul Martin
3 Aug, 2017

Beijing and New Delhi are standing their ground, neither side yielding an inch in a dispute over a piece of Himalayan territory that flared up again a month ago. Could a war of words in an issue with former colonial fingerprints on it evolve into all-out war?

In a statement on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its call to India, saying it must remove its forces from what Beijing considers part of its territory.

“The Indian side not only has not taken any actual steps to correct its mistake, it has concocted all sorts of reasons that don’t have a leg to stand on, to make up excuses for the Indian military’s illegal crossing of the border,” it said.

India says its incursion across an internationally recognized border, launched on June 18, was meant to protect its close ally Bhutan from a Chinese attempt to change the status quo in the disputed part of the Himalayas known as Doklam. The deployment was prompted by construction work by Chinese military engineers, who, according to India, attempted to extend an old road deeper into the area.

British survey mistake?
India and China, two nuclear-armed Asian powerhouses, are no strangers to border conflicts. They have a shared frontier of 3,500km, large parts of which remain disputed, and fought a bloody war in 1962 over Aksai Chin, which resulted in victory for Beijing. More recently, major Sino-Indian border incidents happened in 2013 at Depsang and in 2014 at Chumar.

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