Tensions are rising in the Himalayan Mountains near the Galwan River Valley between Indian and Chinese troops looking to secure and police the border between the 2 largest Asian nations.
This dispute led to 20 confirmed Indian deaths and an undisclosed number of Chinese fatalities. Both parties have accused the other side of provoking the conflict. But, they also seem resistant, as of now, to try and elevate the situation higher than what it already is. Hopefully this can be resolved in a diplomatic manner. The only problem with that is this “Line of Actual Control” is a loosely defined border, according to the WSJ.
This is obviously something that we need to keep an eye on.
These are 2 of the most populous countries in the world and both have nuclear power. Now, I don’t think a border dispute that has been going on for over 60 years will suddenly become a nuclear war, but as tensions rise and the economic turmoil across the world continues, humans will continue to act as humans. Hopefully global leaders can control their emotions and don’t do irreparable damage.
The WSJ is reporting that China may have started the conflict by setting up camps/structures on the wrong side of the border. Once the Indian army told them to leave, a barbaric brawl broke out. This zone has had minor skirmishes, but no deaths since 1975. There are armistice agreements that firearms will not be used in the region, and so far this has been upheld.
The problem with this border is that the 2 sides have very different interpretations of how the region and treaties are meant to be handled. It’s extremely complicated, and I’m not going to pretend to even understand. Thus, conflict breaks out. President Modi of India said yesterday that India is capable of a “befitting” response to what China acts on. China has yet to make an official statement on the issue.
This puts these 2 nations in very difficult spots because China doesn’t want to appear like they are acting from a point of weakness. They have yet to disclose the amount of deaths that happened on their side because they think it could provoke the public to want revenge. That leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
Another issue that arises with this is the other geopolitical factors that come with China as a rising military power. The pandemic has already proved their strength in the global economy and their control of global supply chains.
Major world economies, like the United States and Japan, are making moves to bring manufacturing back to their domestic countries and look at other countries to produce goods, especially India. This attempt of exodus from China will not be taken lightly by the CCP.
So, after the coronavirus pandemic led to China’s first shrinkage in GDP in 28 years, their response to the outbreak is looking to have a long term impact on their economy as well. And when you compound the pandemic, recession, and unrest between the nations, it leaves the door open for fighting.
This will lead to interesting decisions as India continues to have one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world. As they progress in trade and other economic outputs they may find it in their best interest to navigate towards working with countries like the US, Japan, and Australia. This is not favorable to China and could play major hindrance on their growth.
It’s really too early to tell how this will all play out. Hopefully it stays peaceful and I think there is an argument to be made that because they are nuclear powers it can actually reduce the chances of extreme escalation. But, it’s 2020 and anything can happen.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. My advice to them would be to just chill out.