Monday, March 1, 2021

India and China to stop sending troops to disputed border

Nuclear-armed neighbours aim for a peaceful de-escalation of border tensions.

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The disputed Himalayan border between India and China has lately become increasingly militarised with undisclosed numbers of casualties on both sides.

At many points along the Line of Actual Control, opposing units regularly camp within metres of each other and face offs have become more common.

In a June clash in the Ladakh region near the border, 20 Indian troops were killed. Chinese casualties were not disclosed.

After that fatal encounter both sides sent tens of thousands of extra troops to the border.

Satellite sightings of the Chinese laying hi-tech communications cables from the border to rear command centres infuriated Indian troops who still have to communicate by unreliable telephones.

Talks aimed at finding a peaceful solution have been intermittent and inconclusive.

Now, military commanders from both India and China have agreed to “stop sending more troops” to the border region after high-level talks, New Delhi said on Tuesday.

The Indian army said the two sides have also agreed to “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation”.

Although remote geographically, the border dispute is very real and long lasting. The world’s two most populous nations fought a war over the frontier in 1962.

As both nations have arsenals of nuclear weapons, any escalation of the conflict could have much wider consequences.

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