The Indo-Loyal border ignited conflict in South Asia 2The Indo-Loyal border ignited conflict in South Asia 2

On June 15, Indian and Chinese soldiers fought in the Galwan Valley, a disputed area between the two countries, killing at least 20 Indian soldiers.

This is considered the worst clash between the two sides in four decades, while experts warn that the Ladakh region in general and the Galwan valley in particular could become a new geopolitical hotspot in South Asia in the coming years.

Indian military convoy arrived in Ladakh in May. Photo: Reuters.

Escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries have worried the international community, especially when India and China faced off in a brief border war in 1962. The United Nations has regretted

The Indian Foreign Ministry on June 17 accused China of trying to `unilaterally change the status quo` in the Galwan valley, an important geostrategic intersection in the Himalayan region, where New Delhi is implementing a road paving project.

Details of the clash were kept under wraps by both sides, but China blamed India for the scuffle, adding that it did not want tensions to escalate.

The risk of India-China border conflict has increased since early May, when India accused China of sending thousands of soldiers across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is considered the border between the two countries.

The brawl left many Indian soldiers dead, including a colonel, causing outrage in this South Asian country.

`The sacrifice of our soldiers will not be in vain. National unity and sovereignty are the most important things to us. India wants peace, but still has the ability to respond appropriately if provoked.`

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi then spoke by phone and agreed to reduce tensions at the border.

Analysts say the current situation represents China’s reaction to military infrastructure projects undertaken by India in recent years in the Ladakh region.

The Indo-Loyal border ignited conflict in South Asia

Disputed border area between China and India.

`I believe China is concerned about the road India is opening along the LAC, especially the road completed last year connecting the Ladakh region’s capital Leh to the Karakoram Pass,` Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program

The route mentioned by Kugelman is called Darbuk – Shyok – Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO), 255 km long and inaugurated in 2019. China has repeatedly protested the plan to expand a branch of DSDBO.

China’s economic corridor to Pakistan and Central Asia passes through Karakoram, not far from the Galwan valley.

`Ladakh and the eastern Ladakh region are very important to China, because it is the gateway to Central Asia and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is invested by Beijing with about 60 billion USD. They have many benefits.

Jacob and Kugelman both believe that China is trying to send a message to many neighboring countries through conflict with India, especially after New Delhi removed the special status of the Kashmir region last year.

India then abolished article 370 of the constitution, which guaranteed autonomy for Kashmir, and separated Ladakh from Kashmir and turned it into a territory administered by the federal government.

`Any conjectures about China’s motives in recent developments need to mention India’s removal of Article 370. It is clear that Beijing is reacting strongly and quickly after New Delhi’s actions. China considers that

Besides, there are many geopolitical factors related to recent tensions, including US-India-China relations.

`US-China relations are clearly deteriorating, while Washington-New Delhi links are strengthening. China seems to want to send a message to India that ‘New Delhi can be close to its competitor.

While the two sides seek dialogue, the two countries’ stance on controlling strategic areas on the border could become an obstacle preventing efforts to resolve the border conflict.

The Indo-Loyal border ignited conflict in South Asia

Chinese soldiers (left) and Indian soldiers (right) during a confrontation at LAC in May. Photo: ANI.

The Galwan Valley plays an important role in India’s strategy due to its close distance to the Nubra Valley, where the logistics base for forces deployed to deal with the Pakistani army in the Siachen glacier is located, a location considered a battlefield.

`China can demand concessions from India, ending infrastructure projects in certain areas. Beijing’s control of the Galwan valley in the future could threaten New Delhi’s forces in the mountains.`

The border conflict occurs in the context that New Delhi is facing an economic crisis due to Covid-19.

`The reality is that New Delhi’s foreign policy over the past few years has completely failed. India is in a rather difficult situation when confronting the powerful China on one side and small neighbors on the other.

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