Posted by: Shaun | March 30, 2008

China Crosses the Line (of Actual Control)

According to the Times of India, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops have made more than a dozen incursions into Indian claimed territory since January. The piece goes on to note that Chinese patrols regularly cross into disputed territory that is claimed by New Delhi. The Sino-Indian border dispute is one of the last outstanding territorial grievances that China has with its neighbors and stems from a nasty border war fought between Asia’s giants back in 1962; a war that the PLA won handily. This just goes to show that for all the bilateral exchanges and improved relations between India and China in recent years, there are still problems to be overcome. Let us not forget that the official security rationale for India’s acquisition of nuclear weapons in the 1970s was not a hostile Pakistan, but deterrence against China’s strategic arms.

The disputed area in question is a key piece of territory for both states. India has had a significant interest in maintaining control over the region to protect itself from both China and Pakistan, a sentiment that was only reinforced by the Kargil Crisis in 1999. For China, the interest is in stabilizing its restive western frontier and controlling who and what can come across the border. The Chinese province adjacent to India is Tibet and as recent events have made painfully clear, there are some Tibetans who are, shall we say, nonplussed at the idea of being a part of China. All this is not to say we should be on the look out for another clash of the titans in the Himalayas, but this issue will likely remain a stumbling block between the two countries. When neighbors with a history of conflict cram lots of military hardware into a small, sensitive piece of territory that both lay claim to, parceling out the land can be a long, painful endeavor. Just ask these guys.



  1. This hasn’t been covered as much as the protests in Tibet have been.

    One wonders what those far away from China and Tibet can do. At first it seems hopeless, that nothing can be done.

    But this is not true, because of the economic factors that can be brought to bear on China:

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