'Chance of war' between nuclear-armed China and India

Published: July 17, 2017
SHARES
Email
Military vehicles carry cruise missiles during a military parade to commemorate the end of World War II in Beijing. Reuters

Military vehicles carry cruise missiles during a military parade to commemorate the end of World War II in Beijing. Reuters

China and India are clashing over a remote Himalayan territory which could spark a devastating nuclear war.

Since mid-June, Chinese and Indian soldiers have lined up “eyeball to eyeball” on the remote Doklam plateau. In recent days, more troops have been sent to the frontline.

Currently it’s a nonlethal battle of platitudes at high altitude, but experts in China have warned, “there could be a chance of war”.

And that’s not a great prospect, given India is thought to have more than 100 nuclear tipped missiles while China’s warheads could total more than 250.

The flashpoint between the two seems mundane – the building of a new road on the Chinese controlled, but disputed, plateau.

China tells India to withdraw its troops from Chinese territory

There is now said to be “complete stalemate” in the confrontation.

China and India have regularly come to blows on their 4000km long and infuriatingly ill-defined border.

Remote and treacherous, few people live in these disrupted areas.

But any moves to tame them such as, say, through the building of a road to make access easier, immediately risks a conflict.

The current anger kicked off in an area close to what India calls the “chicken neck” — a thin stretch of land that is the only direct link to country’s isolated north east.

The “chicken neck”. PHOTO COURTESY: Supplied

Directly to the north is China, peering down from the mountains, covetous for some of the land it overlooks.

In early June, China commenced construction of a new road leading to the Doklam plateau, a disputed area it currently administers.

It is close to the chicken neck at the so-called “tri junction” where its frontier meets both India and the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

China accuses Indian troops stationed in Bhutan – which only has a small army and relies militarily on India – from straying across the frontier to prevent the road’s construction.

On Monday, China’s state news agency, Xinhua, said the Indian military’s “trespass into Chinese territory is a blatant infringement on China’s sovereignty”.

But, Bhutan says it is the rightful owner of the plateau.

While Bhutan is part of the fight, the real battle of wills is between China and India which cite different treaties to back up their various claims to land along the frontier.

A Chinese and Indian soldier at the Nathu La border crossing between India and China in India’s northeastern Sikkim state. PHOTO: AFP

And these are no mere scraps of mountain here and there.

India claims 250,000 km sq of Chinese controlled land while China says 550,000km sq of Indian administered land should belong to them.

On Tuesday, The Times of India said around 300-400 Indian troops were “eyeball to eyeball” with China in a “non-aggressive confrontation” but thousands more soldiers from both sides are close by.

China releases evidence of Indian army’s ‘transgression’ into its territory

A further 2500 Indian troops has now been stationed in India’s Sikkim province, the province next to the tri point.

The Indian External Affairs Ministry has justified the build up, saying a 2012 agreement meant the frontier at the tri-junction would be finalised between the three countries.

Chinese troops march during an event outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. PHOTO: Reuters

Any attempt to unilaterally determine the tri-junction points is a “violation of this understanding”, the statement said, reported the Hindustan Times.

India sees the road as China asserting sovereignty.

Last week, China’s ambassador to New Delhi, Luo Zhaohui, said the situation was “grave” and Indian troops should “unconditionally pull back to the Indian side.”

An Indian Agni-IV missile which is capable of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. PHOTO: AFP

Meanwhile, China has built its first foreign military base in Djibouti, in the horn of Africa, giving it  strategic access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, reports Fox News.

The emerging Asian superpower is also forging a closer alliance with India’s long-time foe and neighbour Pakistan and is planning to build a military base in the country, reports The Guardian.

 

This article originally appeared on news.com.au.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (20)

  • Solat
    Jul 17, 2017 - 6:25PM

    India need to concentrate in its own internal matters instead of meddling in affairs between Bhutan and China. China is way ahead of india in terms of economically and military.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 17, 2017 - 6:48PM

    I hope India gets THRASHED like it did in 1962. Some countries never learn. The whole world knows what happens when Indians pick up on someone their own size (like China). I am getting the pop corn ready to watch India get beaten up again. Recommend

  • genesis
    Jul 17, 2017 - 9:52PM

    Time china was shown its place and bullying tactics do not pay.Once India uses the economic weapon China will climb down and with India other nations whose interest are also being bullied will join with the economic threat.Hope China understands the impact of a global world taking such actions> In today’s world you do not need nuclear weapons.Economic threat is more powerful than bombs and barrels.Recommend

  • genesis
    Jul 17, 2017 - 9:53PM

    @Faisal:
    Time china was shown its place and bullying tactics do not pay.Once India uses the economic weapon China will climb down and with India other nations whose interest are also being bullied will join with the economic threat.Hope China understands the impact of a global world taking such actions> In today’s world you do not need nuclear weapons.Economic threat is more powerful than bombs and barrels.Keep your China imported popcorn ready.It may not be available for long.Recommend

  • Bilal Haider
    Jul 17, 2017 - 11:00PM

    India is not happy with the emergence of China in contrary to USA as India is a flatter of USA. A war could take place between them then in such condition India would suffer a lot of damages and it would bring him to the partition time….Recommend

  • k
    Jul 18, 2017 - 12:06AM

    @Solat:
    China Lost in 1967 at that same place, Chola war 1967, so dont tell us what you knowRecommend

  • maheen.
    Jul 18, 2017 - 4:31AM

    ooh please no more wars.. =(Recommend

  • david
    Jul 18, 2017 - 7:03AM

    India is stupid, it forgot 1962.Recommend

  • X
    Jul 18, 2017 - 10:54AM

    Doomsday for India is near…..India will be hit externally from north n west as well as internally……the stage is set and its very clear.Recommend

  • Pakistani-American
    Jul 18, 2017 - 11:05AM

    It won’t end well for India, if it comes to pass.Recommend

  • harkol
    Jul 18, 2017 - 12:01PM

    @Faisal:
    Nothing of that sort will happen. such things have happened before in past 4 decades, and it was resolved diplomatically. China & India value economic growth too much to fight a war.Recommend

  • Milind
    Jul 18, 2017 - 12:26PM

    All Pakis are jubiliant at the prospect of China – India war, conveniently forgetting that in the battle of elephants its the ordinary grass (i.e. Pakistan) that gets trampled.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 18, 2017 - 1:14PM

    @harkol:
    Isn’t it amazing that if you look at any Indian newspaper, then you will thousands of Indians commenting that India should go to war and teach the Chinese a lesson. And if you see the Indians visiting Express Tribune, they are more nuanced in their approach. What’s the secret behind this? Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 18, 2017 - 4:15PM

    @Milind:
    you need English classes desperately. This is the first time anyone in the English-speaking world is hearing of your expression that when when elephants fight, grass gets trampled!! lol! what Bollywood movie did you hear that in? And by the way since you used the word “Paki”, I will use the term “Bhindian” = Bharat + Indian + Bhindi vegetarian diet! Recommend

  • Dr Ashraf Khan
    Jul 18, 2017 - 5:03PM

    Shinning India, nor more. India need to get ready for it destruction.Recommend

  • DNiwasi
    Jul 19, 2017 - 4:20AM

    @Dr Ashraf Khan:
    wishful thinking…India may suffer but China will too. The World will turn against China….India is not without influence. What does Pakistan know about influence? Russia wont say anything but wouldnt be too pleased with this completely unnecessary provocation and a war situation with China.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 19, 2017 - 3:46PM

    Hi all, the latest on 19 July is that an Indian diplomat is saying that China is being unusually aggressive and that now Indians will try all diplomatic channels to de-escalate the situation. Lol! we Pakistanis knew from day 1 that Bhindians don’t have the courage to take on China! Now Indians will try to desperately do a face-saving exercise and then start harassing Pakistan by firing across LoC, then fire some shots across the Bangladeshi border and bully Nepal so that the Indian public forgets about the humiliating retreat from the China stand off and distract them with “evil and jealous” neighbours like Pak, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka!
    Same movie – seen it a hundred times before. Recommend

  • Abid
    Jul 19, 2017 - 9:09PM

    @solat
    You absolutely right. Recommend

  • sam ganguly
    Jul 19, 2017 - 11:53PM

    Nothing will happen. China is a bully nation, and understands only tough talks. India is actually showing maturity by the way it is handling it. No country in south east could handle the chinese pressure. If India can do it, then it will be a big face loss for China. So maybe some back channel, some war threats and then quietly both sides will withdraw. We are a nation of 1.3 billion people. China can do nothing. Period.Recommend

  • Vicky
    Jul 20, 2017 - 2:52AM

    Pakistan has forgotten it is now a colony of China and the next North Korea.Recommend

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in World