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India-China tensions

India fell into unprecedented "pincer" position in history while border's rising water put Chinese soldiers in danger

08:46 | 06/07/2020

The Indian military has long expressed concern about the dangers of dealing with "pincers" from China and Pakistan at the border now really occurring while Chinese soldiers gathering a large number of 5 km from the disputed area in the Galwan valley are in danger as rising water on the banks of the Galwan River floods.

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india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger
Tensions flare up in the India-Pakistan border (photo: India Today)

The generals negotiation round earlier this week between India and China ended without continuing to produce the expected results to ease border tensions. India and China continue to increase their troops and weapons to the border and step up the construction work to consolidate their territorial claims.

In the midst of tensions with China, India had to "brace itself" on a new "front" when gunfire and artillery fire broke out in the border area with Pakistan.

On July 2, the Indian army announced that Pakistan had violated a ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) between the two countries. Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged firepower on the border. Casualties have not been confirmed.

Indian media accused Pakistan of having "met up privately" with China before dispatching 20,000 troops and heavy equipment to the border. Since officially gaining independence from Britain in 1947, India has had four border wars with Pakistan and two with China.

However, during decades of border disputes, India has never had to simultaneously defend the Northern region (bordering China) and the West (bordering Pakistan) at the same time.

india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger
Indian fighter in border area with China (photo: SCMP)

The Indian military has expressed concern that China and its ally Pakistan are joining forces in dealing with New Delhi, amid Narendra Modi's government's "headache" for the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic.

India is clearly under great pressure from the sharp increase in Covid-19 infections and border tensions with China and Pakistan. We have seen relations with both Islamabad and Beijing worsen over the past few years, and the result is that both have decided to escalate things during the pandemic, when the Modi government is stretched and distracted, said Ian Hall, an international relations expert at Griffith University.

india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger
Indian soldiers in the border (photo: India Today)

While the Sino - Indian army has not cooled down, the LoC area between India - Pakistan has become "equally hot". The Indian military claimed to have killed 127 "terrorists" in LoC in the first six months of this year, 30% higher than the same period last year. The number of gun battles in LoC between India and Pakistan also doubled from the previous year.

On July 1, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry accused India of violating a ceasefire at LoC 1,500 times, causing casualties for civilians in Pakistan-administered areas.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said that it would be possible for Pakistan and China to shake hands for pressuring India on the border.

Rising water in the disputed border areas with India, Chinese soldiers are in danger

A senior commander of the Indian army said the Galwan River originated from the Aksai Chin plateau, which was very cold, always close to freezing. But rising temperatures in recent days have caused the water level to rise rapidly.

"The snow is melting very fast, anywhere near the river is very dangerous," the Indian officer said, referring to satellite images showing Chinese soldiers camped on the banks of the river.

Indian officials added that even other Chinese-controlled areas in disputed areas including Pangong Tso Lake, Gogra, Hot Springs, could not be garrisoned for a long time if tensions persisted in the winter.

Typically, Sino-Indian border tension will escalate to its peak during the summer months. In the winter, both sides will automatically withdraw their troops due to the harsh climate in the highlands.

india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger
Satellite photo by Planet Labs, shows the reported site of a fatal clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan River Valley. (AP Photo )

At the moment, there is no sign that China will soon cool its tensions at the border. It has been reported that the Chinese military pulls fiber optic cable to a location in the Galwan valley. Chinese soldiers have also been accused of building a tunnel in the Pangong lake area.

india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger

Landslides, floods also occurring in India-China border in north Sikkim

The Indian military predicts that this year's Sino-Indian border tension will last longer than the 73-day period compared to the 2017 border clash in the Doklam Plateau.

America supports India against Chinese aggression: US Senator

india fell into unprecedented pincer position in history while borders rising water put chinese soldiers in danger
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks.(AP)

An influential American Senator on Friday said that the US stands with India against the Chinese aggression in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control, commending the Indian government for the continued efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the boundary issue.

Republican Senator Rick Scott, in a letter dated July 2 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed his condolences on the loss of lives of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley.

The United States stands with India as you fight against the Communist China’s aggression and I commend your continued efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution,” Scott said in the letter tweeted on Friday.

Unfortunately, we know Communist China never lives up to its commitments. The tyrants of Communist China continue to steal technology and refuse to open their markets to foreign goods as required by their agreement to be part of the World Trade Organisation,” he wrote.

Scott said that China is militarising the South China Sea, even though it had promised former president Barack Obama not to do it, and now it continues to try to assert its military dominance in its quest for world dominance, reported the hindustantimes.

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