The ongoing border dispute between India and China may have just reached its boiling point.
Fox News reports that at least three Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a skirmish that took place between the two countries at the disputed border on Monday.
What’s going on?
China and India have been locked in a border dispute since at least the 1960s. The disputed land is located in the Galwan Valley, which is in the western Himalayas, and over the years there have been many fights that have broken out between the two countries.
Since 1967, however, none of those fights had resulted in fatalities – until Monday.
Over the past month, tensions over the disputed border have, once again, been on the rise. This is likely the result of India trying to build a road in the area that would connect the area to an airfield. In response, China appears to have increased its military presence in the area.
While construction has been ongoing, both China and India have claimed that the other side has been trespassing on their land. For the past 10 days, the two countries have been in talks to de-escalate the situation. But, with China asking India to stop construction and India asking China to withdraw its troops, no progress has been made.
Fight breaks out
Both India and China have issued statements on Monday’s incident.
“During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides,” stated the Indian army.
India, as you can see, has been rather vague about what happened. China, in contrast, has claimed that the whole situation was India’s fault.
“What’s shocking is that on June 15, the Indian side severely violated our consensus and twice crossed the borderline and provoked and attacked the Chinese forces, causing a violent physical confrontation between the two border forces,” a ministry spokesman said. “China is raising strong opposition and stern representations to the Indian side on this.”
According to the Indian army, “Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”
We’ll have to see whether those talks are successful or whether Monday’s “violent faceoff” will lead to more violence. But, what those talks surely won’t do is solve the border dispute. We know this because the two countries have been working to solve this dispute since the early 1990s – obviously, with no success.