According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, China and India have deployed tens of thousands of troops to their disputed border in the Himalayas. The report cited anonymous Indian officials who said China increased its troop presence from 15,000 to about 50,000 in the region, which was matched by India.
The report said most of the build-up has occurred in the eastern Ladakh region, where a deadly skirmish between Chinese and Indian troops took place in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley. Twenty Indian troops and four Chinese troops were killed in the deadliest fighting between the two nuclear-armed states in decades.
While there appears to be a build-up, Beijing and New Delhi have been engaged in talks over the disputed region that is separated by a vague border known as the Line of Actual Control. The talks have led to the two sides pulling back forces in a different region near the border and have helped reduce tensions.
Last year, after the deadly skirmish, the US stepped up military cooperation with India and is now helping New Delhi keep an eye on Chinese troops. In October 2020, the US and India signed a new defense pact, known as the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, that allows Washington to share more satellite data and other intelligence with New Delhi.
After the military agreement was signed, a US commander boasted of the increased cooperation with India. “From the real-world standpoint, we’ve gotten closer this year with India, especially on the intelligence sharing, particularly related to the situation that’s occurring on their northeast border with China,” Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, said last November.
India plays an important role in Washington’s new campaign against China. India is a member of the Quad, an informal grouping whose other members are the US, Japan, and Australia. The Quad is seen as a possible foundation for a NATO-style military alliance in Asia, and the four countries are stepping up military cooperation. In March, President Biden held the first-ever summit between leaders of the Quad nations.