As the Covid-19 emergency wreaks havoc on economies across the globe, India and China also have a border issue to deal with. Disputed for over 80 long years, a 2,200 mile stretch in Galwan Valley of the Himalayan region of the border between the countries has sparked violence at the line of actual control (LAC).
The first breakout of violence was reported in the beginning of May, which led to a total of 11 casualties on both sides. This is when the Chinese Foreign Ministry also gave the following statement:
“China is committed to safeguarding the security of its national territorial sovereignty, as well as safeguarding peace and stability in the China-India border areas”
Since both countries are formidable nuclear powers, and an India-China clash can quickly turn into a global emergency, they have a treaty that bans the use of weapons near their shared borders.
When the current dispute first escalated in May, United States President Donal Trump had offered to mediate a peace treaty between the two countries. However, officials from both countries reported that the situation is in control and can be de-escalated without the need for mediation from another country.
Yet, the situation escalated after the initial clash in May, and another recent clash led to over 60 casualties on both sides, including several martyred soldiers. The casualties include 20 martyred soldiers on the Indian side and 43 casualties, including one Chinese officer that was martyred.
Both armies have held high-level meetings to de-escalate the situation. At the same time, both countries are also reporting increased military activity on both sides of the Galwan Valley border. The recent clash was the result of one such discussion going south where the soldiers attacked each other with iron rods and stones.
There is a strong and growing anti-China sentiment among the Indian population that uses several Chinese products that are being boycotted across the country. The sentiment has grown much stronger amid the reports of the quickly escalating India-China clash. At the same time, Indian officials, including the Prime Minister of the country, Narender Modi, have promised their people that China will face strong repercussions of its actions in the Galwan Valley.
Amid this situation, China’s People’s Liberation Army has freed ten Indian soldiers on the 19th of June 2020.
Despite all this, the International sentiment regarding China’s aggressive policies against its neighbors is growing increasingly negative.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the US Permanent Representative of NATO said, “China could be a peaceful partner, a good trade partner, but they are not doing that right now, and I think NATO partners are looking at this, and NATO is beginning to assess what China is doing as well.”
This statement comes to light when China is not only engaged in a tiff with their Indian neighbors but is facing serious backlash for the new laws introduced by the Chinese government in Hong Kong.
With the world bearing witness to the worst clash between China and India in several decades, the hope is that the situation will be resolved before it turns violent.