Tensions between two nuclear-armed states China and India are not new. Both countries share the world’s longest unmarked border. They have been engaging in several encounters for ages. Recent events suggest that escalations are highly possible.
On May 9 in the Naku La region near Tibet, soldiers from both sides came to blows and threw stones at each other mostly in efforts to induce the Indian troops to move back from the areas they were patrolling. No arms were used but several dozen soldiers were injured, including a senior Indian officer who was required to be airlifted to hospital.
Actually, the conflict between India and China is extremely deep. Both countries are developing as global industrial producers, competing for the same markets, for the same resources.
Simultaneously, other countries try to use these tensions for its own goals.
For instance, the goals of the U.S. are simple – to restrain the growth of China’s power. America tends to strengthen relations with India, like a rival of China, in economic and military spheres.
The U.S. is India’s second largest trading partner, and India is its 9th largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2018 was $142 billion. U.S. energy exports are an important area of growth in the trade relationship. In 2018 India purchased 48.2 million barrels of U.S. crude oil.
Moreover, India and the U.S. signed an agreement to “strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation” including the construction of six American nuclear reactors in India.
Besides, Russia gradually is losing ability to sell weapons to India. At the end of April India pulled out of a joint program with Russia to develop the advanced multi-role Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) based on the Su-57. India explained its move by saying that the Russian design doesn’t meet the stated requirements, while the plane’s Russian-designed combat avionics, radars, and sensors are not up to the fifth generation standards.
China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.