Chinese forces are holding an increasingly large series of live-fire training drills in Tibet, reflecting soaring tensions with neighboring India, while Chinese state media outlets suggest the nation is gearing up for a possible “long-term confrontation” with India over the border region.
The tensions center on the border region of China, India, and Bhutan. China was trying to build a road in remote Dokola, when Indian ground troops streamed across the border to stop them. The construction has stopped but it has left scores of troops from both China and India in the remote area in a standoff, with the risk of the world’s two most populace nations warring over it.
The biggest complicating matter is that India never even claimed the territory for themselves. Rather, it’s been de facto part of China for years, and Bhutan claims that area. India claims that the 1949 Treaty of Friendship obliges them to enforce Bhutan’s claims.
Chinese media however view this primarily as a reflect of India’s growing ambitions as a regional power, and also argues it might be necessary for China to check these ambitions, potentially militarily, now that it’s brought Indian troops onto Chinese soil.
This may ultimately all be bluster, as a war between the two large nuclear powers ought to be unthinkable, particularly over this largely worthless chunk of mountainous terrain. Yet mutual unwillingness to be seen as backing down could quickly lead both sides toward further escalations, with a major regional conflict resulting.
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