China v India: Risk of border clashes grow as risky expeditions planned

China 'possibly building new military bases' suggests expert

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In a bid to counter Beijing’s expansion of the Himilayan borders with India, New Delhi is launching a major skiing expedition from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. This is a distance of around 1,500km.

A senior officer said: “China’s blatantly expansionist policy to grab territory needs to be effectively countered.

“While the Army rebalances with additional forces and firepower to the northern borders, it’s also essential to show and mark our presence in ‘unheld’ areas through mountaineering and other expeditions there.”

The source added how the ARMEX-21 skiing expedition will “involve documentation, geotagging of locations and evidence-creation”.

According to the Times of India, the specially-trained personnel will negotiate forbidding mountain ridges, glaciers and multiple passes across the contested border.

It is believed more expeditions will be planned in coordination with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.

Another source added: “Increased footfalls in such remote areas will also promote tourism and integration of their population with the mainstream.”

Over recent months, China has built several military bases in the border region and has asserted its dominance in other areas as well.

Army chief general M M Naravane said last week the Communist nation was in the habit of making “small creeping, incremental moves” to take over new territory without a shot being fire or a loss of life.

He said: “South China Sea is a glaring example of this.

“More than anything else what we have achieved is to show to China that this strategy will not work with us and every move will be met resolutely.”

Last year, tensions between Beijing and New Delhi reached boiling point following a bloody clash between troops at the contested border.

This marked the first bloody altercation in 45 years as around 35 Chinese troops died and 20 Indian soldiers.

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During the altercation, both sides agreed to disarm in order to deal with the border clash but tensions rose and a physical altercation erupted.

All the casualties were from the use of batons, knives and falls from the steep land.

Both sides began formulating a disengagement plan to withdraw the troops from the region but talks have appeared to fallen through.

Back in September, Daniel Markey, the senior research professor in international relations at John Hopkins University of Advanced International Studies in Washington, said both nations depend on each other.

Mr Markey argued China recognises India is a “problematic neighbour” but claims they can see “huge opportunities”.

He told “For the Chinese, they to recognise that India is a bit of a problematic neighbour but there are huge opportunities there.

“Even after it has pushed military along the LAC with India in these ways, I don’t think China has seriously wanted to court a war-like scenario.

“I think what they wanted to do is revise some tactical realities of that border.”

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