China-India tensions 'have potential to escalate' says expert
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Last June saw the first deadly outbreak of fighting between the two sides since 1975 in the Galwan Valley. Soldiers confronted each other with weapons, including clubs and sticks, leading to the death of at least 20 Indians and four Chinese. The root cause of the conflict lies in an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long border that both countries dispute, known as the Line of Actual Control.
Tensions have continued to rise between the nuclear-armed neighbours, with satellite photos showing both sides rapidly building up their military capabilities.
New Delhi has boosted its military presence in the region with the deployment of 60,000 troops and sophisticated weapons including surface-to-air missiles and 24 Rafale fighter jets.
India has also added 10,000 troops to its Strike Corps that is specifically trained for combat with China and Pakistan.
Beijing for its part continues to hold live-fire exercises using self-propelled mortars, in the process contravening a 1996 agreement not to use weapons near the border.
Security analysts are increasingly concerned by China’s aggressive assertiveness in the area and the corresponding Indian response.
Pravin Sawhney, editor of the national security magazine Force, told the Daily Telegraph: “The Chinese threat has increased substantially and it is growing because of the capabilities that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is inducting in the theatre.
“Right now there is no war but when you increase the threat, a war can never be ruled out.”
China continues to maintain large troop concentrations at Depsang Plains and Hot Springs along the border.
General M M Navarane, India’s army chief, said there could be no de-escalation until China withdrew its troops.
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He said: “We are very clear that no de-escalation can take place before disengagement at all friction points.
“The [Chinese] troop presence in the whole front, right from Ladakh up to Arunachal Pradesh, continues.
“We have to be ready to be deployed in the long run too.”
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