Relations between India and China have been worsening throughout this year as the two nuclear-armed Asian giants are facing off against each other along their disputed border in the Himalayan region.
Tensions have run high since June when at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a hand-to-hand combat with their Chinese counterparts. (China didn’t reveal number of their casualties).
The bone of contention is a 3,800-km long undermarcated border in Himalayan region that both countries dispute.
Rivers, lakes and snowcaps along the border mean the boundary can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sometimes leading to confrontation.
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China and India are also competing to build infrastructure along their contested border, which is also known as the Line of Actual Control.
India’s construction of a new road to a high-altitude air base is seen as one of the main triggers for a clash with Chinese troops in June that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The two countries have fought only one ‘real’ war, in 1962, when India suffered a humiliating defeat.
Both sides see their contested border areas as strategically important in the event of another conflict. This explains why both India and China have stationed thousands of troops along their disputed border.
India and China are however seeking to end dangerous military standoff on their disputed border after months of tension.
The two nuclear-armed neighbors are formulating a plan that involves creating no-patrol zones, pulling back tanks and artillery, and using drones to verify the withdrawal.
“We have a firm plan for disengagement on the table, it is being internally discussed on both sides,” Indian government officials told Reuters while speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.