India deploy more troops into Ladakh as China tensions rise
India media reports, published in November, claimed both sides had agreed to withdraw troops and artillery from the Line of Actual Control where the standoff has been ongoing since May. But these talks ceased the same month and analysts believe it could be a strategic move by Beijing, aimed at Washington.
C. Uday Bhaskar, a retired Indian Navy commodore and director for think tank the Society for Policy Studies, told the South China Morning Post: “If Biden’s policy towards China is going to be as tough as Trump’s China policy and if China perceives a higher level of threat from the US, then it is unlikely to want to open up another front with India.”
India and China first fought over the boundary in 1962.
The killing of 20 soldiers in June in the Galwan river valley, north of Pangong Lake, was the first bloodshed in 45 years.
The publication on Monday of a declassified US document on its Indo-Pacific strategy sheds light on why analysts think China has paused talks.
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The 2018 report said: “India’s preferred partner on security issues is the United States.
“The two cooperate to preserve maritime security and counter Chinese influence in South and Southeast Asia and other regions of mutual concern.
“India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China.”
Last month, it was revealed China built at least three villages on the LAC in what experts deemed as an effort to “fortify claims” to the region.
Analysts at Twitter account @detresfa said relocating people to these villages “promises China with better border surveillance and patrols through a network of herders”.
Journalist Bertil Lintner has written extensively about China’s strategy to dominate border rows. He said India is viewed as a “major obstacle on China’s road to greatness”.
Mr Lintner, writing for Asia Times, questions “whether China is really looking for a solution to that long-standing and often bitter border dispute, or if maintaining fuzzy borders is a deliberate tool in Beijing’s foreign policy to negotiate better terms on trade, security and other issues with its neighbours.”
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He notes that China’s issue with India in the Himalayas shares similarities with disputed waters in the South China Sea.
The border, or Line of Control, is divided into three sectors.
The eastern sector covers Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector Ladakh.
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