After a brief cool down, tensions soared again at the borders as India and China engaged in a standoff again, with the strain of past months in their relationship manifesting again.
Crux of the Matter
29-30 August, 2020: India blocked China’s attempts to change the status quo at the south of Pangong Tso lake in Chushul (Ladakh). China engaged India in a standoff at the spot for the first time, with the Chushul sub-sector being strategically important due to having an airstrip as well as a pathway to Leh.
4 September: Rajnath Singh and Wei Fenghe, Defence Ministers of India and China respectively, had a meeting in Moscow as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). While Singh labelled the Chinese“attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo” as “violation of the bilateral agreements”, Fenghe blamed India for the clashes and urged to “refrain from provoking the current line of actual control”. However, both sides expressed a desire to resolve matters solely through discussions.
First Firing In Decades
8 September: China claimed India “crossed” the border and “fired threats” to Chinese patrols, which the Indian Army refuted in its official statement.
It is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress…We are committed to maintaining peace & tranquility, however are also determined to protect national integrity & sovereignty at all costs.Official Statement of the Indian Army
On the same day, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju claimed that 5 Indian youth had accidentally crossed into the Chinese border. He later confirmed that China responded to a hotline message from the Indian Army regarding the 5 missing people and that details of their return are being worked out currently.
Dr. S Jaishankar and Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of India and China respectively, would meet in Moscow on 10 September as part of the SCO. Jaishankar recently told The Indian Express that the LAC situation is “very serious” and requires “very, very deep conversations…at political level”.
What Had Happened Before?
- India and China have been engaged in standoff since months.
- 15 June: Clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers occurred in Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
- 20 Indian soldiers were martyred while the Chinese casualties remain undeclared.
- Disengagement of troops was initiated by 30th June.
Amidst ‘demand’ from China for peace talks, Global Times, funded and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (ruling party) released an incendiary statement against India.
- Free Tibet is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1987 and based in London. Free Tibet campaigns for an end to China’s occupation of Tibet and for international recognition of Tibetans’ right to freedom.
- The Anti-Copying Act, 1992 was the Indian legislation enacted by the Government of UP which made copying a Non-bailable Offence. Rajnath Singh, the minister for education in the government during the time, is credited with the controversial idea.
- Bharat Ke Veer is a fund-raising initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India on behalf of members of the Indian paramilitary Forces. The initiative was launched by Akshay Kumar and Rajnath Singh in 2018.
- NDTV – India Thwarts New China Aggression, Holds Its Ground: 10 Developments
- Livemint – India dismissed China’s claims, says PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air
- The Week – Indian troops’ ‘bravado will backfire’, says China Global Times editorial
- The Wire – After Defence Ministers Meeting, India-China Agree to De-Escalate Tensions
- The Indian Express – Explained: In India-China standoff in Ladakh, why Chushul sector is critical