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People Liberation Army soldiers and tanks are shown during military disengagement at the India-China border in Ladakh. (Indian army/AFP/Getty Images)

A one-sentence statement from China’s Ministry of National Defense on Feb. 10 announced a simultaneous disengagement of Indian and Chinese forces at Pangong Lake on their disputed border. Ten days later, the disengagement was complete, with a buffer zone separating troops on the lake’s northern bank.

What happened?

The disengagement may be a sign of easing tensions along part of the India-China border dispute known as the western sector. Also called Ladakh or Aksai Chin, this area comprises roughly 12,7000 square miles (excluding areas of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir that India also claims as part of this sector). In multiple areas, China and India hold conflicting views of where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) lies, which creates numerous smaller disputes within the larger territorial conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

Activists protest against the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in the northeastern state of Assam, in New Delhi, India, on Aug. 4, 2018. (Altaf Qadri/AP)

India and China are once again clashing along their disputed border in the Himalayas — for the first time since 1975. Soldiers on both sides have lost their lives — including at least 20 Indians and an unknown number of their Chinese counterparts.

Yet headlines in the outside world have largely overlooked the fate of local civilians — embodied by five young men from the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Apparently hired as porters for the Indian Army, they were captured by the Chinese on Sept. 1 and held captive until just a few days ago, when, thankfully, they were finally returned home to their families.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian army convoy carrying reinforcements and supplies drives toward Leh, on a highway bordering China, in Gagangir, India, on Sept. 2. (Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

Last week, the India-China border standoff came the closest it has yet to war. As Taylor Fravel explained, the long-standing border dispute dates from the 1962 Sino-Indian War. The dispute came to a boil in May when a large force of Chinese soldiers crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the disputed border between the two countries since 1962. A deadly skirmish in June temporarily raised tensions, but it was the result of tragic happenstance rather than large and risky military maneuvers.

Tensions have escalated more seriously since late August because both sides have jostled for tactical advantage, creating incentives for each side to outflank or even fight the other.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian army soldiers at Gagangeer in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday. (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

Tens of thousands of Chinese and Indian troops are facing off in the uppermost reaches of the Himalayas, on the precipice of a possible war between the two major countries.

China’s incursions into eastern Ladakh across the Line of Actual Control that separates it from India should be seen as part of its global pattern of bad behavior. If left unchallenged, China’s provocative and perfidious military actions along the border with India could destabilize South Asia.

China’s massive buildup of troops and infrastructure in pockets across the border not only violates bilateral agreements, but also forces Indians to confront a new reality.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras el choque del mes pasado en el valle del Galwan (región de Ladakh), en el que murieron 20 soldados indios y una cantidad desconocida de uniformados chinos, la India y China se preparan para un duelo prolongado en la disputada frontera en los Himalayas (aunque se informa de una retirada del sitio del enfrentamiento). Lo más importante, sin embargo, es que la reciente escaramuza puede ser señal de un cambio más amplio en la geopolítica asiática.

Esta idea puede parecer a primera vista exagerada, ya que ambos países venían haciendo esfuerzos aceptables por convivir. Si bien nunca llegaron a una solución duradera respecto de su disputada frontera de 3500 kilómetros (2200 millas), en 45 años no hubo un solo disparo en la línea de control efectivo (LAC por la sigla en inglés).…  Seguir leyendo »

An Indian army convoy drives toward Leh, on a highway bordering China, on June 19 in Gagangir, India. (Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

On June 15 at 6.30 p.m., Col. Santosh Babu, an Indian army officer from the southern state of Telangana, organized 20 of his men to accompany him on what he thought was a straightforward mission. He’d been informed that the monthlong simmering tension between India and China at different points of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh was drawing to a close. Military commanders had agreed to “de-escalate"; the Chinese were to withdraw from areas inside Indian territory. His job that evening was to ensure that the two tents erected by the Chinese inside the Galwan Valley (named such by the British for Rasool Galwan, a teenage Indian trekker who helped save their lives in 1895) were taken down, per the negotiated agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party protesting against China in Mumbai on Friday. Credit Divyakant Solanki/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tensions between Indian and Chinese troops have simmered since early May in the remote, high Karakoram mountains that separate India’s northern Ladakh region from the alkaline desert of Aksai Chin, which is claimed by India but controlled by China and abuts its Xinjiang province.

It is a forbidding landscape of cold deserts, snow-capped peaks, sparse vegetation and freezing temperature about 14,000 feet above sea level. On Monday evening, in a brutal hand-to-hand battle, Chinese soldiers killed at least 20 Indian soldiers with wooden staves and nail-studded clubs, in the severest escalation of the dispute on the Sino-Indian frontier in decades.

British colonial authorities bequeathed India a border with China that was neither delineated on a map nor demarcated on the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, for the first time in 45 years, Indian and Chinese soldiers engaged in fatal, localized skirmishes along the more than 2,000-mile disputed boundary between the two countries. It’s a significant escalation of tensions between the two Asian nuclear powers, who have been engaged in a sometimes-violent standoff since early May, though one that had until this week not led to any deaths.

The situation had already attracted considerable international concern, with President Trump on May 27 offering U.S. diplomatic assistance to India and China to help resolve what he called at that earlier stage “their now raging border dispute.”…  Seguir leyendo »

The deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, in the first deadly clash with Chinese troops in 45 years came as Beijing and New Delhi had supposedly reached an agreement to lower the tension along the border in the mountainous region of Ladakh, high in the Himalayas.

India blames China for trying to alter the status quo at the Line of Actual Control, or the LAC. Since May 5, Chinese troops had crossed the border and squatted on Indian territory, triggering a standoff. When Indian soldiers went into the Galwan Valley to supervise what was meant to be the agreed retreat of Chinese troops from the area, they were attacked by 500 Chinese troops with stones, iron rods, nails and other objects.…  Seguir leyendo »

La COVID‑19 no es la única amenaza que este año cruzó las fronteras de la India. Según informes alarmantes del ministerio de defensa indio, China ha desplegado una «cantidad significativa» de soldados a través de la disputada «línea de control efectivo» (LAC, por la sigla en inglés) que discurre a lo largo de la frontera entre ambos países en los Himalayas. Hasta ahora, las transgresiones se produjeron en cuatro puntos de la frontera más larga y disputada del mundo, con la aparición de miles de soldados chinos en Sikkim y en partes de la región de Ladakh, al noreste del valle de Cachemira.…  Seguir leyendo »

Human rights activists hold placards during a protest against India's newly inaugurated link road to the Chinese border. Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images.

One of the more serious recent military stand-offs between India and China took place in 2017. The following year, however, a summit between China’s President, Xi Jinping, and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, appeared to change course back towards some kind of peaceful co-existence.

From the Indian perspective, views towards China have varied between strategic hawks and other groups – notably commercial – benefitting from engagement with China. The latter appeared to be in the ascendency.

However, a series of flare-ups along the border in May might be changing that calculation. Several reports of unarmed combat between soldiers have been reported at separate locations along the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

In early May, Chinese and Indian troops got into a fistfight on their border at Naku La Pass adjacent to the Indian state of Sikkim. A few days earlier, a brawl among border guards at Pangong Lake sent troops to the hospital. In recent weeks, Chinese soldiers also crossed the “line of actual control” (LAC) around the Galwan River valley.

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about China’s recent actions in this long-standing territorial dispute.

1. China hasn’t taken this type of action in at least a decade

The territorial dispute along the China-India border falls across three different areas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Narendra Modi visits the Terracotta Warriors exhibition on a visit to China in 2015. Photo: Getty Images.

Between them, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi have clocked up a little over a decade as leaders of their respective countries. Both men — China’s president and India’s prime minister — have captured international attention by disrupting perceptions of their countries’ roles and prospects. But their fates, and how confidently they deal with each other and the world, rest on the success or failure of their domestic programmes.

In many ways, Xi Jinping seems the more secure of the two. He was reappointed secretary of the Chinese Communist Party at the 19th congress last October. Following last month’s constitutional changes removing time limits on the presidency, he looks increasingly likely to stick around beyond 2023, when his current term ends.…  Seguir leyendo »

Statue of Jean-Jacques rousseau by night, Geneva, Switzerland. © 123rf

Rousseau, dont la Maison de Rousseau et de la littérature fête mercredi le 305e anniversaire, est plus vivant que jamais. Un coup d’œil sur l’abondante littérature qu’il suscite à travers le monde suffit pour s’en convaincre. Deux exemples récents le démontrent.

The Age of Anger, A History of the Present (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 2017), de l’Indien Pankaj Mishra, traite du désenchantement que la modernité inspire aujourd’hui sur toute la surface du globe. Grâce au développement de l’information, hommes et femmes n’ont jamais été aussi nombreux à être séduits par la liberté et la prospérité que promet le libéralisme triomphant.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las relaciones entre la India y China no han sido particularmente cálidas en los últimos meses. Pero recientemente han entrado en una fase gélida en la que los líderes chinos están furiosos por la visita del Dalai Lama al estado de Arunachal Pradesh, en el nordeste de la India -estado que China reclama como propio-. El 8 de abril, en medio de fuertes protestas por parte del gobierno de China, el Dalai Lama habló ante devotos provenientes de todas partes en el monasterio histórico en la ciudad fronteriza de Tawang, donde nació el sexto Dalai Lama hace más de tres siglos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando India despierte

«Cuando China despierte, el mundo temblará» es una profecía atribuida a Napoleón I que nuestra época parece confirmar. Pero India también se ha despertado, con una tasa de crecimiento económico del orden del 8% que, este año, superará a la de China, que es del 6%. Sin embargo, el mundo no tiembla, porque India es una democracia, no amenaza a sus vecinos y no rivaliza con Occidente para repartirse el mundo. Además, prestamos poca atención a este otro gigante de Asia, acostumbrados como estamos a reducirlo a unos mitos antiguos revisados por Bollywood. Eso es un gran error. ¿Quién, por ejemplo, ha informado este mes de dos decisiones fundamentales del Gobierno conservador y favorable a las empresas de Narendra Modi, aparentemente técnicas, pero que podrían revolucionar la economía india?…  Seguir leyendo »

China and India are on the cusp of becoming two of the world’s top three economies. Various economic surveys have predicted that while China can emerge as the world’s leading economy, India has the potential to become the third-largest economy by 2020.

Sino-Indian relations have always bordered on mistrust because of outstanding border disputes, an unfortunate historical legacy. India, after the debacle of a brief war with China in 1962, has been cautious when dealing with its neighbor. India has always approached the “China threat” with timidity.

One of the reasons for underplaying the threat is probably a lack of military preparedness.…  Seguir leyendo »

For centuries, the relationship between China and India was the diplomatic Dog that Didn’t Bark. The two largest, most populous, most durable Asian countries, for most of their collective history, have lived alongside each other with an almost studied indifference to the military, economic and cultural activities of the other. This dynamic began to change in the postcolonial period, but slowly, unevenly and with as much backtracking as forward progress.

However, the recent news that Delhi and Beijing may be establishing a military hotline - reminiscent of the admittedly apocryphal “red telephone” between the White House and the Kremlin - has shown how much the Sino-Indian relationship has expanded and matured in recent years - and also how much distance still remains.…  Seguir leyendo »

A new maritime balance in Indo-Pacific region

Recently it was reported in sections of the media that the United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that could possibly include the disputed South China Sea.

The U.S. and Indian government officials were quick to dismiss the report. Washington suggested that while the U.S. and India have a shared vision of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the two countries were not planning joint maritime patrols in the Indian Ocean or South China Sea. New Delhi also argued that there was no change in India’s policy of joining international military efforts only under the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

Waiting in line for cooking gas in Kathmandu. Credit Narendra Shrestha/European Pressphoto Agency

Just before the annual festival season began across Nepal last month, nearly a decade after a civil war, and six months after a catastrophic earthquake, the country ushered in a new Constitution.

Ideally, its long-awaited arrival would have brought relief, if not celebration to my fellow citizens. Instead, the new charter has thrown the country into violent turmoil and a confrontation with India over its contents. With little recourse or leverage in the region, Nepal has often given in to its powerful neighbor’s demands; this time, it has responded to India’s interference by warming up to its rival, China. That’s a smart move on Nepal’s part, but one it has to make carefully between two powerful neighbors.…  Seguir leyendo »