INTL India - China border crisis (Main Thread)


passin' thru
Russia sided with India a few weeks ago.
That's how I remembered it too, but the new spate of 'russia bad' drum beating had me confused.
..easy nuff to do tho..

Indo-Pacific News

#China Throws Down a Challenge to #India The #Indian Army today is capable of repulsing a #PLA attack & inflicting heavy losses. But do we have the political will? A good read, very critical of current & past Indian administrations, challenging thoughts


passin' thru
China Throws Down a Challenge to India

The Indian Army today is capable of repulsing a PLA attack and inflicting heavy losses. But do we have the political will?

Brahma Chellaney | 26 Jun, 2020

Indian soldiers at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh in Ladakh, June 25 (Photo: Getty Images)

FIGHTING TWO BATTLES simultaneously—one against Chinese aggression in Ladakh and another against the China-originating coronavirus—India finds itself at a critical juncture in its post-Independence history.
How India emerges from the dual crises will not only decide Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political future but, more importantly, have an important bearing on the country’s future trajectory and international standing.
The bare fact is that China’s stealth aggression in the second half of April caught India napping, with the armed forces discovering the intrusions in early May. In a swift operation that must have been planned months ahead, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forcibly changed the status quo by encroaching into disputed and undisputed border areas of Ladakh. This came at a time when a distracted India was wrestling with the coronavirus outbreak by enforcing the world’s strictest lockdown.
Since the 1980s, China has been eating away—bite by bite—at India’s Himalayan borderlands, even as successive Indian prime ministers have pursued a policy of appeasement toward Beijing. India is now reaping the bitter fruit of such appeasement.

In comparison with China’s intrusions in the past years, its latest aggression is unprecedented. The well-coordinated encroachments were strategically geared to creating new facts on the ground by grabbing vantage locations, with the intent to secure militarily commanding positions and render Indian defences vulnerable. This was underscored by the PLA’s occupation of the key strategic heights around Lake Pangong, in the area stretching from Fingers 4 to 8, and by its encampments atop Galwan Valley’s ridges that overlook India’s newly built Darbuk-Shyok-DBO highway. That highway is a key supply route to India’s most forward military base located near the Karakoram Pass.
Although China provoked bloody clashes at the Sikkim-Tibet border in 1967 and triggered border skirmishes in 1986-1987 by crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Samdurong Chu, this year has marked the first time that it has opened military pressure points against India in peacetime all along the Himalayan frontier. To mount pressure on India, China not only has amassed forces along the Himalayan frontier but also provoked a series of clashes with Indian troops, even along Sikkim’s 206-km border with Tibet.

Although China has risen from a backward, poor state to a global economic powerhouse, the key elements in its statecraft and strategic doctrine have not changed. Since the Mao Zedong era, China has adhered to the ancient military strategist Sun Tzu’s advice: ‘The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy.’ This has meant exploiting the opponent’s weaknesses and camouflaging offense as defence. ‘All warfare,’ Sun Tzu also famously said, ‘is based on deception.’
Communist China has repeatedly used force since 1950. This happened even under Deng Xiaoping, who sought to “teach a lesson” to Vietnam in 1979, in the style of Mao’s 1962 war on India. Whenever China has used force, it has been in the form of military pre-emption, executed through deception, concealment and surprise. Its latest aggression against India had all these elements.

The Chinese system sees conflict as inherent in China’s efforts to resolutely achieve its rightful place in the world and to assert its territorial claims and broader strategic interests. Beijing is thus ever willing to create or manage conflict. From employing its trade muscle to inflict commercial pain on countries that challenge it to exploiting its monopoly on the global production of a vital resource like rare-earth minerals, China has staked out a muscular, conflict-making role. As a Global Times editorial on June 22nd said in relation to India, ‘The border dispute has made it clear that China is not afraid of conflicts when it comes to territorial issues.’

Since the 1980s, China has been eating away—bite by bite—at India’s Himalayan borderlands, even as successive Indian prime ministers have pursued a policy of appeasement toward Beijing. India is now reaping the bitter fruit of such

Against this background, a China-India agreement to de-escalate tensions will offer Beijing an opportunity to escalate its game of deception, with the aim of buying time and consolidating its hold on the newly encroached areas. China usually takes one step at a time in its relentless push to expand its land and sea frontiers. In the coming years, it could seek to replicate its Pangong territorial grab in other strategic Ladakh areas, such as Depsang, Demchok and Chumar.
In fact, India’s perennially reactive mode has long allowed the PLA to keep the initiative in the Himalayas. The PLA began honing its ‘salami tactics’ in the Himalayas in the 1950s, when it sliced off the Switzerland-size Aksai Chin plateau from Ladakh. Later, China inflicted a humiliating defeat on India in the 1962 war, securing peace, as a state mouthpiece crowed in 2012, on its own terms.

Today, China pursues a ‘cabbage’ approach to borders, cutting off access to an adversary’s previously controlled territory and gradually surrounding it with multiple security layers. China has been gradually subverting the status quo in the South and East China Seas, its border with India and even the flows of international rivers—all without firing a single shot.
Operating in the threshold between peace and war, China has pursued increasingly persistent efforts to intrude into India’s desolate borderlands. Yet India has silently faced China’s bulletless war for territory without a concrete counterstrategy to impose costs for such revisionism. As China’s coercive power grows, it is likely to increasingly employ its capabilities not to wage fullscale military conflict with another country but to alter the territorial status quo in its favour short of overt war.
China’s stealth wars have already become a leading cause of geopolitical instability in Asia. India is a principal target of such stealth wars. China has been posing new challenges to India, ratcheting up strategic pressure on multiple flanks, including by reviving old territorial claims and constantly expanding its claim lines in the Himalayas. Given that the two countries share the world’s longest disputed land border, India is particularly vulnerable to direct military pressure from China. Indeed, the largest territory that China seeks, Arunachal Pradesh, is almost three times as large as Taiwan.
The Himalayan frontier is vast, inhospitable and difficult to patrol, giving an advantage to a determined aggressor. Kiren Rijiju, India’s then Minister of State for Home Affairs, told Parliament in 2014 that, on average, China was launching at least one stealth border transgression into Indian territory every day. According to Rijiju, PLA troops were intruding into vacant border spaces with the objective of occupying them.

China’s high-altitude territorial incursions gained momentum after then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 surrendered India’s Tibet card by formally recognising Tibet as part of China. Beijing exploited Vajpayee’s yearning for a successful China visit by extracting concessions that presented India as seemingly willing to accept a Sinocentric Asia. For the first time, India used the legal term ‘recognise’—in a joint document signed by the heads of the two countries—to accept what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as ‘part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China’.
Vajpayee’s gratuitous concession on Tibet—a large historical buffer between the Indian and Chinese civilisations that the Chinese communists annexed in 1950-1951—acted as a spur to China’s creeping aggression. It was in the period after India’s Tibet cave-in that the Chinese coined the term ‘South Tibet’ for the Austria-size Arunachal Pradesh. The cave-in also set in motion stepped-up Chinese incursions and other border transgressions, with such scofflaw actions steadily increasing from 2005 to 2020, as India’s own figures underscore.

China Throws Down a Challenge to India
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, April 2019 (Photo: Getty Images)
In the Himalayas, like in the South China Sea, China has in some instances employed civilian resources as the tip of its intrusion strategy. While China’s naval forces in the South China Sea have followed Chinese fishermen to carve out space for occupying reefs, in the Himalayan region, the PLA has used specially recruited Han Chinese herders and grazers to encroach on some Indian frontier areas. Once such civilians settle on the infiltrated land, PLA troops gain control of the area, thus paving the way for the establishment of more permanent encampments or observation posts. To be sure, PLA troops have also directly infiltrated and occupied unguarded areas.
Thanks to such PLA tactics, India has over the years lost considerable land in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. In Ladakh, for example, PLA’s nibbling at Indian territories has resulted in its capture of Chumar’s Tia Pangnak and Chabji Valley and an ancient trading centre, Doom Cheley. China has been able to advance its territorial aggrandisement along the Himalayan frontier (and in the South China Sea) without the need for missiles or bullets.

Yet, without realising it, successive Indian prime ministers have aided or condoned China’s terrestrial aggression. In fact, their naïve statements have encouraged greater Chinese incursions. Take Modi, who prioritised resetting ties with China after becoming Prime Minister in 2014 without any prior national experience.
In 2017, Modi said that, although China and India are at odds over their borders, it was remarkable that “in the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired because of [it]”. The Chinese foreign ministry responded by praising Modi’s “positive remarks”. Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, for his part, used to claim that, in their 5,000-year history, India and China fought only one war, in 1962. What this rose-tinted history failed to acknowledge was that China and India became neighbours only after China completed its capture of Tibet in 1951.
India’s accommodating rhetoric has helped China’s designs to such an extent that the phrase Modi coined, “inch toward miles”, as the motto of India-China cooperation actually reflects the PLA strategy of incremental encroachments. While India-China cooperation has yet to inch toward miles, the PLA has been busy translating Modi’s slogan into practice.

When China caught India’s undermanned and ill-equipped army napping by launching a surprise, a multi-pronged military attack across the Himalayas on October 20th, 1962, the humiliation that ensued marked a tectonic moment in India’s post-Independence history. Taking an enemy by surprise confers a significant tactical advantage in war, and the Chinese invasion inflicted an immense psychological and political shock on India that greatly magnified the initial military advances that China achieved.

Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai publicly said that the war was intended “to teach India a lesson”. China’s blitzkrieg created gloom and a defeatist mindset in India and forced its army to retreat to defensive positions. India even shied away from employing its air power for fear of unknown consequences, although the Chinese military lacked effective air cover for its advancing forces. India’s then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru publicly bemoaned that China had “returned evil for good”. It was Nehru’s persistent appeasement toward China that set in motion the events leading to the 1962 Chinese invasion.
India’s defeat led to profound developments. It hastened the death of Nehru and set in motion fundamental changes in the country’s policy and approach, including the launch of military modernisation. Yet, by the late 1980s, appeasement returned as the leitmotif of India’s China policy. Today, nearly 58 years after 1962, Indian appeasement toward China has again resulted in developments inimical to India’s security. War clouds have suddenly appeared. India has largely forgotten the lessons of 1962, including the costs of reposing faith in China’s words.

Appeasement is a slippery, treacherous slope. Once a nation embarks on appeasement, it slips into a self-perpetuating trap. Every prime minister after Indira Gandhi has kowtowed to China. Indian appeasement resumed with Rajiv Gandhi’s 1988 Beijing visit and deepened with Vajpayee’s 2003 surrender of India’s Tibet card. Modi, for his part, has taken appeasement to a new level.
The paradox is that, in the post-Indira Gandhi period, every time India has stood up to China, it has been followed by New Delhi’s kowtow to Beijing. The Sumdorong Chu confrontation was followed by Rajiv Gandhi paying obeisance to Beijing. In 2017, Indian forces resolutely halted PLA’s effort to build a road to the Indian border through the uninhabited Doklam plateau that India’s ally, Bhutan, regards as its own territory. This action was followed by Modi’s kowtow to China.
It was Modi, as Chinese President Xi Jinping later revealed, that proposed an annual “informal” bilateral summit—a proposal that led to the so-called Wuhan process. Xi gladly accepted Modi’s proposal of early 2018 because high-level meetings aid China’s ‘engagement with containment’ strategy toward India.

China Throws Down a Challenge to India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping in Wuhan, April 2018
Worse still, Modi initiated this process despite China’s seizure of Doklam. After the 73-day troop standoff at the southwestern edge of Doklam ended with an agreement to disengage, China launched frenzied construction of military fortifications and seized control of almost the entire plateau, other than the corner where the faceoff had occurred. By the time Modi decided to travel to Wuhan, the Doklam plateau, which previously had no permanent military structures or permanent force deployments, was teeming with Chinese barracks, helipads, ammunition dumps and other facilities, as satellite images underscored.
The myth of Doklam victory that Modi sold Indians to bolster his image proved costly for India, as China’s 2020 aggression has highlighted. Despite being Bhutan’s de facto security guarantor, India failed to defend that tiny nation’s territorial sovereignty. China’s Doklam capture has shattered Bhutanese faith in India’s security assurances, making Thimphu more eager to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Meanwhile, with his leverage weakened, Modi’s effort at rapprochement with Beijing quickly slid into overt appeasement. In early 2018, his Government halted any official contact with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. This compounded Vajpayee’s Tibet cave-in. Officials were directed to stay away even from the March 2018 events marking the 60th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight to India.
The following month, the Wuhan summit produced little more than Indian Government-sponsored media hype. In fact, no sooner had the summit ended than significant differences emerged on how India and China interpret even the key understandings reached at Wuhan. For example, India said the two leaders ‘issued strategic guidance’ to their respective militaries to avoid further border friction. But China’s statement made no mention of that. India, which has chafed against the increasingly lopsided trade with China, said agreement was reached at Wuhan to strengthen trade and investment in a ‘balanced and sustainable manner’. But that crucial phrase was missing from Beijing’s version.

Such differences were no surprise. Like all previous India-China summits since 1988, the Wuhan summit was long on political theatre, such as shows of amity, but short on concrete results to fundamentally change the bilateral dynamics. As if to pander to India’s proverbial weakness—confounding symbolism with substance—Xi focused more on diplomatic stagecraft, including receiving Modi with a very long red carpet, taking the Indian leader on a lakeside walk and a boat ride and engaging in long handshakes while voicing hope the summit would “open a new chapter in bilateral ties”.
Wuhan was followed in October 2019 by an equally unremarkable Modi-Xi summit in Mamallapuram, near Chennai. Yet Modi hailed both summits as harbingers of a new strategic convergence with China. If anything, his “Wuhan spirit” and “Chennai connect” lullabies—like Nehru’s Hindi-Chini bhai bhai lullaby—lulled India into a dangerous complacency.
Against this background, is it any surprise that military tensions between India and China are rising again amid an intense geopolitical rivalry? There is still no clearly defined Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas separating the rival armies. Such a situation has persisted despite regular Chinese-Indian talks since 1981. In fact, these talks constitute the longest and most futile negotiating process between any two countries in modern world history.

War is not decided by military and economic capabilities alone. If capabilities alone determined the outcome of wars, then the stronger side would always win. But history is replete with examples of the weaker side triumphing over the more powerful opponent

China has taken India round and round the mulberry bush for 39 years in the negotiations on resolving the larger boundary question. The negotiations began as ‘senior-level talks’ in 1981 before being relabelled as ‘joint working group’ talks in 1988 and then as ‘talks between special representatives’ in 2003. With new each label, India has sought to wipe the slate clean in order to start afresh, underscoring its unwillingness to learn from its unpalatable past experiences. For example, India today cites 22 rounds of talks thus far between the special representatives, but without mentioning the earlier border negotiations, as if they didn’t happen.


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More significantly, China has made it clear that it has little interest in resolving the boundary question. An unsettled border aids China’s ‘salami slicing’ strategy and also helps it to exert direct military pressure on India whenever it wants. During a 2010 visit to New Delhi, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stated bluntly that sorting out the border disputes “will take a fairly long period of time”. In fact, after Vajpayee’s 2003 Tibet cave-in, China stopped talking about clarification of the LAC.
Since 2008, thanks to Beijing, references to clarifying the LAC find no mention in official bilateral documents. Yet successive Indian Governments have played into China’s hands by carrying on with useless negotiations.
The same is the story with India’s investment of considerable political capital in establishing a border-management framework with China over the past 27 years. Five border-management agreements were signed between 1993 and 2013. Each was signed with great fanfare at a summit, and each was hailed in India (but not in China) as a major or historic ‘breakthrough’. This shows how successive Indian prime ministers have got a free pass from the country’s pliant media and feckless analysts, thus exacerbating India’s China challenge.

The last accord, the 2013 Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), was a textbook example of appeasing an aggressor and whetting the belligerent’s appetite for swallowing territory. Beijing wanted a new accord to wipe the slate clean over its breaches of the border-peace agreements signed earlier. With the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yearning to showcase the ‘success’ of the summit, India acceded to the habitual violator’s call for new border rules. And Singh, with the help of the planeload of journalists he usually took on any overseas visit, marketed his China trip as a major success.
China Throws Down a Challenge to India
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Beijing, June 2003 (Photo: Getty Images)
The BDCA’s provisions were vaguely worded, allowing China—a master at reinterpreting texts—to cast the burden of compliance mainly on India. In fact, whereas China has flouted the letter and spirit of every bilateral accord, India has been strictly adhering to the various agreements’ provisions to such an extent that it has even gone beyond their literal meaning, resulting in the preventable deaths of 20 Indian soldiers at the hands of the PLA on June 15th.
The 1996 accord’s provision not to use firearms within two km of the LAC (Article VI) relates to peacetime border-policing situations, including cases where rival border patrols run into each other. It does not relate to aggression by one side against the other. What India has faced since April in eastern Ladakh is China’s pre-emptive military strike. Had Article VI been correctly read earlier as applicable only to border policing, India would not have lost 20 soldiers. The 20 were brutally murdered by PLA troops armed with improvised weapons, before Indian soldiers avenged the killings by inflicting heavy PLA casualties.
Today, thanks to China’s brazen aggression, the vaunted border-management framework lies in tatters. The aggression has highlighted the worthlessness of the Indian investment in such agreements. Yet, after telling his Chinese counterpart that China’s aggression broke “all our agreements”, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in the same telephonic conversation, oddly reposed faith in those very ‘bilateral agreements and protocols’ for de-escalation! This raises a fundamental question: Will India ever learn?

India must remember that when it has stood up to China, as in 1967, the bully has backed off, thus ensuring peace along the Himalayan frontier

Since 1988, the more India has sought to appease China, the greater has been the perceptible hardening of China’s stance toward it. This hardening is reflected in developments beyond the bilateral domain, including Chinese strategic projects in other countries that neighbour India and the PLA’s troop presence in the Pakistan-held Kashmir. With its troops present near the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s frontier with Ladakh, China is seeking to ramp up pressure on both Indian flanks in Ladakh.
More fundamentally, the strategic rivalry between the world’s largest autocracy and its biggest democracy has also sharpened, despite their fast-rising trade. Trade is the only area in which bilateral relations have thrived, with China managing to more than double its trade surplus with India on Modi’s watch to over $60 billion per year. China’s booming trade surplus, however, has failed to moderate or restrain its behaviour.

Since the time Modi served as Gujarat’s Chief Minister, he has tended to view China not as it is but as he would like it to be. After he became Prime Minister, he went out of his way to befriend China. He postponed a Japan visit by several weeks so that his first meeting with an important world leader was with Xi. By delisting China as a ‘country of concern’, Modi further opened up the Indian economy to Beijing but ended up facilitating greater Chinese dumping.
Even by his penchant for springing surprises, Modi’s recent televised speech at the end of the June 19th all-party meeting was a stunner. As if underline a surreal alternate reality, Modi declared: “Nobody has intruded into our territory, nor is any intruder present, and nor is any post of ours under someone else’s occupation.” His speech became an instant propaganda coup for China, with its state media saying his words signalled to Beijing that Modi doesn’t want ‘further conflict with China’ because, as the Global Times warned, ‘India will be more humiliated than [in 1962]’.
Modi effectively scored a self-goal damaging India’s diplomatic and strategic interests. If India is unwilling to call China out on its aggression and intrusions, how does it expect any other major power to come to its support by criticising China’s aggression? More importantly, by obscuring the truth on China’s encroachments, India is playing right into Beijing’s hands. China, the master of propaganda, will use Modi’s own words to tell the world that there was no aggression from its side, while continuing to consolidate its new territorial gains in Ladakh.

The supposed ‘clarification’ issued by Modi’s office on his speech raised more questions than it answered, worsening the confusion. Without denying Modi’s key words, it said: ‘What is Indian territory is clear from the map of India.’ The official Indian map extends to areas where PLA forces are currently arrayed against India. The Chinese cannot be faulted if they interpret Modi’s words as signalling that India, in reality, no longer considers the China-occupied areas, including Aksai Chin, as its own.
Modi’s speech, in fact, illustrated how India relives history. Nehru kept obscuring China’s encroachments in the 1950s until he was caught in a trap that led to the 1962 humiliation. Now, despite the availability of satellite imagery in the digital era, Modi has likewise sought to cloak Chinese intrusions. Instead of drawing lessons from the Nehru era, including from how China stealthily occupied Aksai Chin, Modi delivered a speech that implicitly absolved China of its intrusions. His words can only embolden the aggressor.

Modi has cast himself as India’s ‘chowdikar’ (gatekeeper) safeguarding the country’s frontiers from encroachers and terrorists. The fact that India was caught off-guard by the Chinese aggression is embarrassing for him. Modi wants to protect his image as a strong leader. This, unfortunately, has led him to downplay China’s aggression from the time the Indian Army discovered it. Until the PLA’s savage killing of 20 Indian soldiers lifted the lid on the Chinese aggression, Indian authorities sought to minimise the significance of China’s actions and to hide details. How can saving face at home become a bigger priority for the country’s leader than safeguarding long-term national interests?

China Throws Down a Challenge to India
Xu Qiling, commander of People’s Liberation Army in charge of China’s western theatre
Had Modi rallied the nation behind him as soon as the Chinese encroachments were discovered and had he ordered the armed forces to take counteraction, the PLA would not have gained time to consolidate its hold on the newly encroached areas. In the Lake Pangong region, for example, the PLA has transformed the landscape by building dozens of observation posts, bunkers and other concrete fortifications since the first clashes flared between rival troops there on May 5th-6th.
India has lost valuable time by doing nothing. It has been hoping against hope that China would see reason and withdraw.
Unfortunately, the Indian Government even obscured the nature and significance of the clashes that occurred in the first 10 days of May, including near the Naku-la Pass, on the Sikkim-Tibet frontier. It also hid the extent of Indian casualties. In fact, the clashes were sought to be passed off as minor until revelations emerged weeks later that both sides had briefly captured each other’s soldiers and that some troops had been so seriously wounded that they required airlifting to hospitals, including in New Delhi.

Worse still, the Indian Army Chief, General Manoj Naravane, personally downplayed China’s aggression. He issued a bizarre statement on May 14th that gratuitously blamed “aggressive behaviour by both sides” for the clashes, which he euphemistically called “incidents”. An Army chief blaming his own troops for “aggressive behaviour” while they confront an invading foe is unheard of.
General Naravane’s statement—apparently issued at the Government’s behest—actually went to great lengths to cover up China’s aggression, including the ensuing clashes that erupted at several border points. The statement blamed the Ladakh and Sikkim border “incidents” on “differing perceptions” of the LAC’s alignment. In effect, he offered China a justification for its encroachments.
To be sure, the “differing perceptions” argument has long been proffered by successive Indian Governments to obscure loss of territory or to rationalise Chinese incursions. This argument has given China, with its ever-shifting claim lines in the Himalayas, a carte blanche to keep encroaching on more and more Indian areas by quoting India’s own admission that the LAC is indistinct and hazy.

General Naravane not only expounded the “differing perceptions” theory while the country was faced with its most serious China-frontier crisis in decades, but also his statement claimed that the Ladakh and Sikkim border “incidents”were “neither co-related nor do they have any connection with other global or local activities”. Why should the Indian Army Chief take it upon himself to explain Chinese actions so as to paint those in better light? The fact is that the Ladakh and Sikkim border developments were indeed co-related and were part of Xi’s larger aggressive quest for Chinese dominance.
On June 13th, a month after his first statement, General Naravane made another statement that “the entire situation along our borders with China is under control”, even as the intruding PLA troops were consolidating their hold on the areas they had infiltrated. Just two days later, the façade of ‘all is well’ on the Himalayan borders collapsed, after the PLA’s ambush-killings triggered bloody clashes. The killing of 20 Indian soldiers, with scores more hospitalised, shocked the nation and brought the Government’s handling of the situation under public scrutiny.

China’s stealth intrusions into eastern Ladakh have been followed with frenzied construction activity to consolidate its hold on the newly encroached areas andfortify its defences. Amid a Chinese military buildup along the Himalayas, Xi appointed a favourite general in early June to lead PLA forces arrayed against India. Xu Qiling, a rising PLA star and ground force commander of the Eastern Theatre Command, swapped positions with He Weidong, the ground force commander of the Western Theatre Command. Xu has the experience to lead joint ground and air operations. As if to signal that it could be readying to wage war on India, China evacuated its citizens from India in special flights from late May.
Many analysts in India and abroad have cited the Sino-Indian power asymmetry to argue that India cannot take on China. After all, China’s economic and military power is much greater than India’s. Some analysts have argued that Modi’s “no intrusion” statement reflected this reality.
War is not decided by military and economic capabilities alone. If capabilities alone determined the outcome of wars, then the stronger side would always win. But history is replete with examples of the weaker side triumphing over the more powerful opponent.
What is critical to any war’s outcome is leadership, political will, resoluteness, strategy and tactics. History is shaped by farsighted and visionary leaders, who can change the destiny of a nation. Great leaders in history turned small island nations into global powers, while shortsighted leaders unravelled empires.
Defence generally has the advantage over offence, because it is easier to protect and hold than to advance, destroy and seize. Defensive operations in the mountains or on high-altitude plateaus, as in Ladakh, are aimed at resisting and foiling an enemy strike in order to prepare the ground for a counterattack.

India has one of the world’s largest and most-experienced mountain warfare armies. The fearlessness and bravery of its soldiers was highlighted recently by the swift costs they imposed on PLA troops in the Galwan Valley after an Indian patrol was ambushed. They demonstrated the true mark of valour when, in the face of death, they inflicted heavy Chinese casualties in hand-to-hand combat, including killing the PLA unit’s commanding officer. Intercepts of Chinese communications by US intelligence have confirmed that China lost more than twice as many soldiers as India.
The deaths represent China’s first combat troops killed in action, other than in UN peacekeeping operations, since the end of its war with Vietnam in 1979. The combat fatalities are a humiliation for China, which explains why it has hidden information on its casualties. Some on Chinese social media have criticized Xi’s regime by contrasting India’s honouring of its martyrs, including holding large public funerals, with China’s refusal to even recognise its fallen.
The Indian Army today is capable of repulsing a PLA attack and inflicting heavy losses. But there is a bigger question: Does India have the political will to impose costs on China? Despite Modi’s strongman image, India remains essentially a soft state, as his own China speech highlighted.

Shrewdly timing a pre-emptive strike that takes the opponent completely by surprise has been central to communist China’s repeated use of force. By contrast, India—with its defensive mindset and risk-averseness under successive prime ministers—cannot even think of undertaking a pre-emptive assault. This gives China a major tactical advantage over India. As the Global Times said on June 21st, China knows that India will not fire the first shot.
It will be China’s initiative to start a war against India and to end it—just like in 1962. And to achieve its objectives, China will do anything, from breaking binding agreements to employing a range of elaborate deceptions.
India needs to make a fresh start by abandoning its accommodating approach toward China that has made it look like a meek enabler. After spending so many years on the defensive, India must discard the platitudes and retake the narrative. To blunt Xi’s expansionism and to halt further Chinese encroachments, India must bare its own teeth and implement a containment strategy, including by joining hands with likeminded powers.
India must remember that when it has stood up to China, as in 1967, the bully has backed off, thus ensuring peace along the Himalayan frontier. But when India has sought to placate or appease China, the emboldened bully has stepped up its incursions and territorial aggrandisement.

In 1967, while still recovering from the major wars of 1962 and 1965, India gave China a bloody nose in the military clashes along the Sikkim-Tibet border. Those clashes were triggered by a Chinese attack much less grave than the Chinese aggression India now confronts. In 2020, can India pretend to be weaker than it was in 1967, despite building a nuclear arsenal and despite its longstanding status as one of the world’s largest importers of weapons?
Also Read
Dream and Dictatorship ~ by S Prasannarajan
Is India still paying for Nehru’s China-submissive policy? ~ by MJ Akbar

posted for fair use
Beyond rhyming and into repeating territory, but I still don't see where Russia is in this dance.
..surely we cannot have a party without em?
Team Trump is publicly aligned with India, and is quietly providing intel/planning/strategy/logistics to the Indians, as I type. Various Team Trump air assets are in place and operational.

Deep State is aligned with China, though has not publicly declared such - but this teaming is clear to most observers.

It behooves Team Trump to keep any Russian teaming/alliance under the public radar screen - while Putin has his own western deep state folks to contend with, Russia is in Team Trump's corner on this India-China saber rattling episode, and on helping to contain aggressive Chinese military actions.

Japan, too, as does Australia, both have their own western deep state elements embedded into their bureaucracy, just like the U.S. and western Europe - but are also aligned with Team Trump to help contain China's more recent aggressions in their adjacent sea lanes.

Does that help?



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China centralizes leadership of military reserve forces - Xinhua

June 28, 2020

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will centralize management of its reserve forces as part of efforts to ensure the Communist Party's absolute leadership of the military and build a world-class army, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Starting July 1, the reserve force, which is part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), will fall under the direct leadership of the central government and the Central Military Commission, Xinhua said.
Currently, the reserve force is under the dual leadership of the PLA and local Party committees and governments, according to the website of China's Ministry of National Defence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is Chairman of the Central Military Commission.


Veteran Member
Beyond rhyming and into repeating territory, but I still don't see where Russia is in this dance.
..surely we cannot have a party without em?
Russia is on the official sidelines stoking the flames. Chaos and anything that takes China down a peg and removes or deflates the US media (China sponsored) Russian obsession serves their interests.

It is in their interest for the go hot to become a back and forth stalemate with no clear victor but increased fear of China by neighbors some who will purchase Russian weapons.


passin' thru
Orders by J&K govt to stock LPG, vacate schools for troops spark fear in Kashmir
Similar orders had been issued before Balakot strikes, abrogation of Article 370

Tariq Bhat By Tariq Bhat June 28, 2020 19:20 IST

[File] A Border Security Force (BSF) personnel stands guard along the Srinagar-Leh National highway, in Ganderbal district of Central Kashmir | PTI

The order to stock LPG cylinders and vacate school buildings for armed forces in the Ganderbal district—that connects Kargil with Kashmir—has created anxiety among people in Kashmir.
Last year, the government had issued similar orders before the revocation of Article 370.
The government had issued similar orders before the IAF strikes on Jaish-e-Muhammad complex at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. The government then ordered hospitals to stock medicine and cancel the leaves of all the staff.
The fresh orders for stocking LPG and vacating of school buildings for troops have come amid looming fears of war between India and China due to Chinese incursion into In Indian territory in Ladakh.
The order to stock sufficient supplies of LPG in Kashmir has been called a “most urgent matter” due to "closure of the National Highway on account of landslides”.

The order issued by the Director of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers said the oil companies should make adequate stocks of LPG that can last up to two months at bottling plants as well as godowns.
This comes at a time when the threat of closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway is less likely due to fair weather; the stocking of essential supplies happens mostly before winters. Also, this year the Amarnath yatra will be a low-key affair unlike in the past when convoys of yatris move from Jammu to Kashmir daily.
In another order, the Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, has requested 16 educational institutes in the district, including ITI buildings, middle and higher secondary schools be vacated.

“In view of the Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra-2020, these educational centres will be made available for the accommodation of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies,” the order reads.
The two orders have created fear in Kashmir that something unpleasant is likely to happen.
India and Chinese troops are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in several areas in Ladakh like Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Depsang after Chinese troops encroached onto the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Around 20 Indian soldiers and several Chinese troops died in a fatal clash at Galwan valley after Indian troops urged Chinese personnel to return to their side of the LAC as per the agreement between the senior army commanders of the two sides in June.
The Chinese troops however backtracked and attacked Indian soldiers when they went to remove a Chinese tent on the Indian side of the LAC a few days after the agreement between the two sides.


posted for fair use


On TB every waking moment
China centralizes leadership of military reserve forces - Xinhua

June 28, 2020

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will centralize management of its reserve forces as part of efforts to ensure the Communist Party's absolute leadership of the military and build a world-class army, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.
Starting July 1, the reserve force, which is part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), will fall under the direct leadership of the central government and the Central Military Commission, Xinhua said.
Currently, the reserve force is under the dual leadership of the PLA and local Party committees and governments, according to the website of China's Ministry of National Defence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Hummm...So Xi is completing his consolidation of power to himself. I'm sort of surprised that this vestige of Mao's "People's War" theory has lasted this long.

ETA: I was looking at the Indian TO&E and what surprised me was the lack of an MLRS in the class of the BM-12/Type 63 system. Such a system would be near perfect from a mobility standpoint in such mountainous terrain, would be able to quickly saturate a target area and would be cheap.
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Plain Jane

Veteran Member
Somewhat related-

Militants attack Karachi stock exchange, killing at least 3

1 of 13
ED'S NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT - Security personnel examine the bodies of terrorists outside the Stock Exchange Building in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2020. Gunmen attacked the stock exchange in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday. Special police forces deployed to the scene of the attack and in a swift operation secured the building. (AP Photo/Muhammad Ikram Suri)

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Militants attacked the stock exchange in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday, killing at least three people — two guards and a policeman, according to police. Special police forces deployed to the scene of the attack and in a swift operation secured the building, killing all four gunmen.

A third security guard was reported to be in critical condition following the assault.
There were no reports of any wounded among the brokers and employees inside the exchange and a separatist militant group from a neighboring province later claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attackers were armed with grenades and automatic rifles, police said. They launched the attack by opening fire at the entrance gate of the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the southern port city, the country’s financial center.

Heavily armed special forces quickly surrounded the building located in the heart of Karachi’s financial district, where the Pakistan State Bank is located, as well as the headquarters of several national and international financial institutions.

Local television stations broadcast images of police in full body armor surrounding the building but still staying outside the high-walled compound of the stock exchange.
Rizwan Ahmend, a police official at the scene, said that after opening fire, the gunmen entered the stock exchange grounds. He said that after the attack was over, food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted.
Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon told The Associated Press that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was underway. As the firing ended and the gunmen were killed, police gathered all the employees and brokers in a single room while security forces went floor by floor to ensure that no explosives had been left behind, he said.

Shazia Jehan, a police spokesman, said the bomb disposal team was also called to the stock exchange to clear the building of any explosive devises.

Later, the Baluchistan Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been waging an insurgency for years, demanding independence for Pakistan’s gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders the southern Sindh province, where Karachi is the provincial capital.

The group also circulated to the media a photograph of four men in full body armor and camouflage outfits, saying they were the militants who attacked the stock exchange.
At a news conference later Monday, Maj. Gen Omar Ahmed Bokhari who overseas the paramilitary Rangers force, which took part in the operation, accused neighboring India of aiding the attackers, by allegedly activating “sleeper cells” that Pakistan claims Indian intelligence has planted throughout the country.

India and Pakistan routinely exchange allegations of using militant groups to attack the other country. The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan mountain region of Kashmir, which is divided between the two but coveted by both in its entirety.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army, which Pakistan says has found safe across the border in Afghanistan, has carried out several attacks in Karachi in recent years, including an attack on the Chinese Consulate in November 2018 that killed two people.

Full Coverage: Pakistan
Gen. Bukhari said Monday’s attack bore the same hallmarks as the Chinese Consulate attack, with the level of coordination and a large ammunition stockpile found at the scene.
Pakistani police and Rangers found more than a dozen hand grenades, boxes of ammunition and several automatic rifles that the attackers had brought to the stock exchange.

The Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is located in Baluchistan, and is part of China’s multi-billion dollar one-road project linking south and Central Asia to China. The Baluchistan militant group has opposed the one-road project, including a highway connecting the Gwadar port to the Chinese border.

The Karachi stock exchange is Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange, incorporated today with the exchanges in Islamabad and Lahore.
Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.


On TB every waking moment
If India is smart, the first missile launched by them should be aimed at the Three Gorges Dam. That would put a crimp in China.
Considering the PRC response to that, there's no sense in half measures in "going there". If you're going to go with a first strike plan, you target all of the C4IR the CCP regime needs to respond. The problem India would then have is a disparity between the number to targets vs delivery vehicles, particularly when systems have to also be allocated to Pakistani targets as well.


passin' thru



Chinese fighter aircraft spotted at Skardu airbase in PoK amid Sino-India border row

india china border dispute
Chinese fighter aircraft spotted at Skardu airbase in PoK amid Sino-India border row
Over 40 Chinese fighter jets, J10, have been witnessed in Skardu in the month of June itself. The Chinese Air Force is understood to have been preparing to use the Skardu airbase to launch an attack against India.

Chinese fighter aircraft spotted at Skardu airbase in PoK amid Sino-India border row

New Delhi: Amid Sino-India border along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Indian intelligence agencies have recently noticed activities of the Chinese Air Force at Skardu Airbase in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Zee News has come to more than 40 Chinese fighter jets, J10, have been witnessed in Skardu in the month of June itself. The Chinese Air Force is understood to have been preparing to use the Skardu airbase to launch an attack against India.
Since Skardu is merely 100 kms away from Leh and is much closer than any Chinese airbase, China is testing the capabilities of this airbase so that it can be used against India, which may have to face attack from the double front.

China is learned to have three airbases, including Kashgar, Hotan, and Nagri Gurgunsa, to launch its fighter jets against India in Ladakh. These three airbases, however, have limited abilities to take action against India. The distance from Kashgar to Leh is 625 km, Leh to Khotan is 390 km and Leh to Gurgunsa is 330 km. All these airbases are located in Tibet at an altitude of over 11000 feet.

On takeoff from such a height, both the fuel and the carrying weapon of fighter jets have to be kept low, reducing their firepower as well as range. Also, the possibility of getting caught on such a long-distance flight from radar also increases, according to Zee News.
For the Chinese Air Force, it will be easier to attack Indian bases, both Ladakh and Kashmir, from Skardu, which is around 100 km away from Leh is, while Kargil is around 75 km. This airbase has two runways, one of which is two and a half km long and the other is 3.5 km long. Chinese fighter jets can easily proceed and return to Skardu.

Notably, if India retaliates against Skardu, then Pakistan will have an excuse to start the war.

video at source
posted for fair use


Senior Member

India's Ghatak commandos ready for China's martial arts trained Army at LAC

India's Ghatak commandos ready for China's martial arts trained Army at LAC

Written By: Zee Media Bureau | Edited By: Namrata Agarwal | Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 00:02 AM IST

New Delhi: Even as the border tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has de-escalated, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is employing martial arts trainers to train their military officers. As per reports in the Chinese media, at least 20 martial arts trainers have been sent to Tibet to train Chinese soldiers.
Even before the clashes on June 15 at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China had recruited local martial arts trainers from Tibet's local clubs into their army division.

To counter the martial arts' trained Chinese Army, the Indian Army has deployed its Ghatak commandos. According to an army officer, a Ghatak commando undergos a specialised 43-day Commando Training Course at Belgaum in Karnataka. The training includes running for 40-kilometers non-stop with a weight of about 35 kg which strengthens them physically.

Apart from weapons training they are also trained in hand-to-hand combat. They also specialise in martial arts. Even when they are posted in a unit they are trained there too. There are different training for high altitude areas and desert areas.
According to an agreement between India and China signed in 1996, it was agreed that there would be no firing within a two kilometer radius of the LAC, no usage of any dangerous chemical weapons, guns, or any kind of explosives will be allowed.

An Army official said that although the unit of Ghatak commandos consists of about 22 personnel including an officer, a JCO, but almost a whole team is also kept as a backup. This way, there are 40–45 commandos in a unit at all times.

Every Infantry Officer in the Indian Army has to undergo the training and only selected soldiers are given this training. Every year, 30-40 new jawans arrive in every unit and then some of the new jawans are kept in the commando team. The soldiers who replace these deadly commando teams also remain in the unit. In this way, besides the Ghatak commando team, there are about 50% soldiers in the unit who are experts in it.

Meanwhile, India and China have agrred to hold talks every week to find ways to reduce the tension at the LAC. Sources associated with the government said that it has been agreed between the two countries that a meeting of the WMCC (Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination, WMCC) will be held every week to discuss the issue East Ladakh border issue. Representatives from several ministries including the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Home Affairs and Security Forces from the Indian side will be included in the meet.

Sources said that the WMCC met last week to discuss the issue of tension in eastern Ladakh and steps were taken to resolve the issues. During the talks, the issue of violent clash of soldiers in Galvan Valley was also discussed.


passin' thru


Update: Chinese troops now stepping up activity near Arunachal Pradesh Indian government sources say PLA troops are reinforcing their posts in large numbers, increasing their patrolling, and stepping up violations of the Indian border. -Business Standard


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Indian missile system order ‘could raise border risk for China’ via

article below in it's entirety:
Indian missile system order ‘could raise border risk for China’
  • New Delhi has asked Moscow to bring forward delivery of a Russian S-400 defence order by about a year
  • Missiles might pose threat to Chinese aircraft well within Chinese airspace, analyst says
Liu Zhen
Liu Zhen
in Beijing
Published: 11:00pm, 29 Jun, 2020
Updated: 11:00pm, 29 Jun, 2020

Why you can trust SCMP


China has taken delivery of its own batch of Russian S-400 missile systems. Photo: TASS

China has taken delivery of its own batch of Russian S-400 missile systems. Photo: TASS
The advanced delivery of a Russian missile system to India could pose a threat to
China in its border dispute
but not in the short term, according to military analysts.

Russian media reported on the weekend that Moscow had agreed to bring forward the delivery date of an S-400 air defence system to January 2021, nearly one year ahead of schedule.
New Delhi reportedly requested the US$5.43 billion deal be accelerated amid escalating military tensions with Beijing.
Under the contract signed with Russia in October 2018, the first missiles in the system were to be delivered in late 2021.

The United States had warned India against the deal and there are doubts in India about the effectiveness of the S-400 as a deterrent.

But a deadly skirmish with Chinese troops in a disputed Himalayan border area on June 15 in which
at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed
has added urgency to the arms purchase.

Last week on a trip to Moscow, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh urged Russia to accelerate not only the S-400 delivery but also India’s order for 21 MiG-29 and 12 Su-30 MKI fighter jets.

Chinese exercise in Tibet after border clash with India

Chinese exercise in Tibet after border clash with India

Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping said the S-400 had a range of 400km (250 miles) and could be a threat on the Himalayan front line.

People’s Liberation Army’s
main air defences on its border with India are the Chinese-developed HQ-9 and HQ-16 missiles, which have a much shorter range.

“If the S-400 is deployed near the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, it could pose a threat to Chinese aircraft that are deep within their own airspace,” Song said, referring to the disputed China-India border.
“This could become a headache for the PLA’s patrols and control of the western border.”

But the PLA was also aware of the weaknesses of the system, he said.
China was the first international buyer of the Russian air defence system, placing a US$3 billion order in 2014. The first delivery was completed in May 2018 and second in January this year, with Chinese air force personnel having had training on the S-400 in Russia.
“From its own operation of the system, the PLA knows the weaknesses of the S-400 and the ways to blind or remove it,” Song said.

China says India should take ‘entire responsibility’ for deadly border clash

China says India should take ‘entire responsibility’ for deadly border clash

China says India should take ‘entire responsibility’ for deadly border clash
In a trust-building agreement between Chinese and Indian border troops, both sides have banned their military aircraft from flying within 10km of the LAC unless they give prior notification.
Song said that an attack on a Chinese aircraft that had not crossed the line would be seen as a serious provocation and would attract retaliation.
Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said the threat from the S-400 would take some time to realise.
Zhou said Russia had delayed delivery of foreign arms orders in the past, including the S-400 to China.
“And after delivery, it takes at least one to two more years to make it combat ready,” he said.
“So the news that the S-400 is being advanced is more of a message to China in this confrontation.”
video at source
posted for fair use



Has No Life - Lives on TB
China Holds War Games As India, Japan Team Up to Train at Sea
BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 6/29/20 AT 12:34 PM EDT
China has set out on a series of war games near sensitive flashpoints in the Asia-Pacific as India and Japan, two regional powers engaged in their own territorial disputes with Beijing, teamed up for training at another strategic spot in the region.
The Chinese military announced Sunday that the People's Liberation Army 73rd Group Army recently conducted a live-fire exercise involving multiple models of aircraft and firepower mobilized off of the country's southeast coast, where Beijing has increasingly asserted its claims to internationally-contested islets in the South China Sea. The drills involved mock targeting of islands and reefs and a senior officer lauded the maneuvers in a statement.
"In the exercise, we conducted the training through day and night, set multiple kinds of targets on land, at sea and in the air, and stressed on the tactical coordination in continuous strikes by multiple projectiles," Zhou Zhirong, a flight commander of the army aviation brigade involved in the training, was quoted as saying.
"The gunship pilots have greatly improved their combat effectiveness in such an actual combat environment," he added.
Further maritime exercises were scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration's Hainan Bureau said in a notice released over the weekend informing sailors to avoid the waters around the Paracel Islands. This archipelago is known as Xisha to China and as Hoang Sa to Vietnam, which considers it part of its own territory.
Chinese and U.S.-backed South Vietnamese forces clashed over the territory in the 1970s with Beijing coming out on top. Tensions have again risen in the area as Chinese and Vietnamese vessels clash as part of a series of feuds increasingly gaining the attention of the United States, which seeks to challenge expansive Chinese claims in the Asia-Pacific.
china, short, range, missile, exercise
Chinese forces operate a short-range ballistic missile system during exercises in the country's southeast in early June. The live-fire drills come as tensions rise between China and its neighbors over disputed territory, including in the nearby South China Sea.
Chinese ships have also been accused of crossing disputed boundaries elsewhere in the East China Sea, where another set of contested islands lie. Known to Japan as Senkaku, to China as Diaoyu, to Taiwan as Diaoyutai and in the West as the Pinnacle Islands, these small, uninhabited islands are at the center of a territorial row between Beijing and Tokyo.

The islands are under Japanese control and the Japan Coast Guard has reported a record streak of incursions by Chinese ships, marking daily incidents since April 14. A recent city council decision to include the name Senkaku in the renaming of an administrative area serving the islands drew criticism from both China and Taiwan, which itself is claimed by Beijing since the establishment of a rival government in Taipei at the end of China's civil war in 1949.
Cross-strait frictions have worsened in recent years as Chinese President Xi Jinping escalates military moves and calls for unification while Taiwan officials seek greater support from the U.S. It was at another geopolitically important strait in the Asia-Pacific, however, that two nations looking to push back against Chinese claims joined forces.
Japan's Kashima and Shimayuki training ships conducted joint exercises Saturday with India's Rajput-class destroyer Rana and Kora-class corvette Kulish near the Malacca Strait. The Indian Ocean stretch between Malaysia and Indonesia represents one of the world's most important shipping lanes, especially for energy resources on which countries in the region depend on.

Tokyo and New Delhi both back Washington's strategy of seeking a "free and open Indo-Pacific"—an approach developed with countering Beijing's ambitions in mind. While tense encounters have occurred between China and rival nations vying for a stake in the lucrative waters of the region, recent deadly clashes between Chinese and Indian troops thousands of miles away at ill-defined border posts in the Himalaya highlands tore open yet another front.
China and India have a history of violence their borders but clashes in May and June between their forces was the first such flare-up to cost lives in nearly half a century. Both sides blame one another for crossing the Line of Actual Control separating the two countries, resulting in a skirmish that killed 20 Indian personnel and an unknown amount of Chinese soldiers.
Though the standoff has yet to be resolved, Beijing and New Delhi officials have vowed to disengage and work through bilateral political and military channels to smooth things over. But as China's overlapping territorial spats intensify, the U.S. has increasingly sought to use them as an opportunity to undermine it and portray the People's Republic as a bad actor.
japan, kashima, india, rana, indian, ocean
Japanese training ship Kashima and Indian Rajput-class destroyer Rana train together near the Malacca Strait in the Indian Ocean, June 28. Japan and India are proponents of the "free and open Indo-Pacific" strategy championed by the United States but challenged by China.
The U.S. military has deployed three aircraft carriers to the Pacific Ocean and has conducted with increasing frequency "freedom of navigation" operations to check Chinese claims to South China Sea islands as well as "presence operations" to escort the ships of regional countries operating in waters also claimed by China. Beijing considers this a violation of its sovereign territory while Washington sees it as preserving access to international waters.
Regional countries emphasized the latter point Friday in a joint statement issued by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following a virtual summit. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he welcomed their "insistence that South China Sea disputes be resolved in line with international law," including the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea, a 1982 treaty signed and ratified by every regional country, including China, but not the U.S.

"China cannot be allowed to treat the SCS as its maritime empire. We will have more to say on this topic soon," Pompeo said.
Chinese officials were set to soon have their say as well, however, as part of the China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation to be held Wednesday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a press conference Monday in Beijing that the agenda included joint efforts to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as well as regional developments.
"China looks forward to in-depth exchange with other participants during this consultation to discuss how to coordinate anti-virus cooperation and socio-economic development as prevention and control efforts remain part of our daily routine," Zhao said. "We also hope to work for new progress in China-ASEAN cooperation and contribute more to stability and development in the region."
south, china, sea, claims, dispute
A map created July 30, 2012 details the multinational, overlapping territorial disputes involving Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam in the South China Sea.