Indian Foreign Affairs minister Subramanyam Jaishankar has made the announcement that his country has stationed a record number of troops along the border of China in an effort to “pressure” Beijing into de-escalating the region’s tensions. This was done in an effort to prevent India and China from going to war. He pointed out that this action was taken after China had greatly increased its presence along the contested boundary since the year 2020.
On December 9th, Chinese and Indian forces fought each other in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This was the first clash between the nuclear-armed Asian governments almost two years ago. The skirmish did not go on for very long since both sides rapidly departed from one another; as a result, only a few suffered minor injuries.
The Indian Ministry of Defense has accused China of attempting to “unilaterally” alter the status quo in the area by claiming that the battle was triggered by Chinese forces who had tried to breach the disputed Himalayan boundary. The Chinese government has denied these allegations.
As a result of the event, a political party in India’s opposition called the National Congress accused the government of “being apathetic” to the danger posed by China and asked that an urgent discussion of the border situation take place.
In response, Jaishankar said that “If we were apathetic to China, then who brought the Indian army to the border?”
If we did not care about China, therefore why are we putting so much pressure on them to de-escalate and withdraw right now?
Why are we declaring to the whole world that our relationship is not typical?
In the meanwhile, Beijing has promised to work closely with New Delhi to maintain peace along the border and has urged New Delhi to “strictly regulate and confine” its soldiers on the front line.
In the past, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, had stated that the border region between China and India was “usually stable” and that both parties continued to keep the communication going on matters linked to the border.
The almost 3,500-kilometer stretch of the Himalayan border that separates the two Asian governments has been a source of tension for a very long time. China and India waged a full-scale war in 1962 for possession of the region, which China claims as its territory as its whole and incorporates within its definition of Tibet. In the year 2020, hand-to-hand combat broke out on the line as a result of China’s objection to India’s building of a roadway on land that China claims as its own. China was reported to have lost just four soldiers, whereas India reported losing over twenty soldiers.