China and India are currently experiencing border clashes which meet the domestic needs of Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping. However, these clashes are not likely to lead to full-scale war.
The border conflict between China and India has made international headlines. On May 5, 2020, there was a confrontation between troops from both sides on Pangong Lake banks in Ladakh in the Northern part of India. After four days the conflict was squared off in the North Sikkim area in India that is positioned between Bhutan and Nepal
No shots were fired but fistfights broke out and stones were thrown. Eleven soldiers from both sides were injured and more fights occurred with disputes between the troops from both sides accusing each other of trespassing. U.S President Trump’s mediation efforts were rejected.
Moreover, this is not the first border conflict between India and China. Back in 2017, there was a confrontation between both sides in Doklam Plateau a shared region between India, Bhutan, and China that lasted for two months almost leading to an armed conflict. These kinds of tensions have lasted for over seven decades and also led to the Shino-Indian War of 1962.
In the modern-day, China claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and refers to it as Southern Tibet. India on the other hand views Aksai Chin (a China-controlled area) as its territory. Both sides have signed agreements since 1962 and reached a consensus of respecting the Line of Actual Control that divides the two countries.
Is there a possibility of a war outbreak in the future?
The standoff at the moment despite the tensions is highly unlikely to explode into a military confrontation for a good number of reasons.
The border conflicts could be a way of relieving internal pressures between the two leaders. The downturn of the global economic environment and the current US-China trade war does not favor Beijing to rely on growth as the source of China’s security. Rather than relying on its domestic economic performance, China is focusing its resources on defending its territories.
Not only has Beijing been focusing on the India- China border conflict but also elsewhere. Recently China has deployed troops to the South China Sea and jets to the Strait of Taiwan. A national security law has also been passed to gain full control of Hong Kong.
Beijing has also been considering India’s focus on fighting Covid-19 to even start a border conflict with China.
China might also be showing off its military might and warning India not to get too close to the US. After the 2017 Doklam border agreement Narendra Modi has been slowly joining the Americans. India has concluded expanding its two-way trade in high tech defense materials and become involved in the manufacturing supply chain of the US.
In conclusion, both sides have been involved in constant dialogues to prevent a full-scale war. In June 2020 top Indian and Chinese generals held talks with each other. According to Modi, India welcomes diplomatic solutions. India has also increased its troops at the border. China has also made it clear that the sides would use uninterrupted methods to address their issues. With such remarks, it is highly unlikely that the tensions would lead to war.