- India-China border tension continues to increase
- Here are the key years when tension at India-China border escalated in the past
The two superpowers of Asia, India, and China have shared a long history of conflicts and mistrust. Given the over 3,000 km long border that the two countries shared with each other, tension is bound to occur, however, tension flared this week in a deadly clash between the army personnel of the two countries have caused the tension to increase.
The two most populated countries in the world who also happen to be nuclear armed neighbours have never come to an agreement on the placement of the “Line of Actual Control” (LAC) which straddles the strategically important Himalayan range.
Though for over 4 decades nothing major had happened between the two countries, there have been many major instances where both countries faced casualties.
Let us take a look at some key years when India-China border was tensed.
1. Nehru’s Beijing visit in 1959
India got the border dispute with China from its British colonial rulers, who in 1914 hosted a conference with both Tibetan and Chinese governments to outline the border.
Beijing has never recognised the 1914 boundary, which is known as the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 square kilometres (34,750 square miles) of territory – almost all of what makes up for India’s Arunachal Pradesh.
The first border dispute flared up during a visit by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Beijing in 1959.
Nehru questioned the boundaries shown on official Chinese maps, prompting Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai to reply that his government did not accept the colonial frontier.
2. Indian War in 1962
The Chinese troops, in 1962, raged over the disputed frontier with India during a tiff over the border’s demarcation. It led to a four-week war which left thousands dead on the Indian side before China’s forces withdrew.
Beijing retained Aksai Chin, a strategic corridor linking Tibet with the western China.
However, India still claims the entire Aksai Chin region as its own, as well as the nearby China-controlled Shaksgam valley in northern Kashmir.
3. Nathu La conflict in 1967
Another major bookmark in India-China border history is Nathu La, India’s highest mountain pass in northeastern Sikkim, which is between Bhutan, Chinese-ruled Tibet and Nepal.
During a series of clashes, which also included the use of artillery fire, India acknowledged that around 80 Indian soldiers died and counted up to 400 Chinese casualties.
4. Tulung La ambush in 1975
This encounter was the last time shots were officially reported to have been fired across the disputed border.
Four Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed along the dividing line in Arunachal Pradesh.
New Delhi blamed Beijing for crossing into Indian territory, a claim which China never admitted.
5. Doklam plateau stand-off in 2017
India and China saw a standoff in Bhutani’s Doklam region which lasted for months after the Indian army sent troops to stop China from constructing the road in the area.
The Doklam plateau holds strategic significance which will give China access to the so-called “chicken’s neck” – a thin strip of land connecting India’s northeastern states with the rest of the country.
It is claimed by both China and Bhutan, an ally of India.
The issue was resolved after talks.
6. Ladakh confrontation in 2020
Tensions have boiled over yet again as several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a high-altitude fistfight on the border at Sikkim state in early May.
Indian officials said that within days, Chinese troops encroached over the demarcation line located further west in Ladakh region following which India acted on its feet and moved in extra troops to positions opposite.
Last week both countries said they would peacefully resolve the face-off after a high-level meeting between army commanders of the two nations was held.
India said 20 of its soldiers were killed in a violent clash in the strategically important Galwan Valley on the Himalayan frontier while claiming that 43 of Chinese soldiers lost their lives.
Today, again, high officials of the two countries will hold the meeting and try to dissolve the tension.