Crisis In The Making

With the events in India taking front stage….I wrote about the situation on my other blog, In Saner Thought…….in case you may have been busy and missed the piece……

Source: The Mysterious Sub-Continent – In Saner Thought

The subject is so interesting that I felt the need to write two op-eds on the subject…..well at least to me…..

We have the battle against ISIS…..we have North Korea flexing its muscle…..the world seems to be in turmoil……conflict upon conflict….but here is one that is so far being done under the radar of the news…..this conflict pits India against China…..a conflict that has been a sore spot since the 60’s….

Sino-China Conflict…….was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a Forward Policy in which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of a Line of Actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.

Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3,225-kilometre-long Himalayan border,  the Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang la in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre. The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal from one of the two disputed areas. Indian posts and patrols were removed from Aksai Chin, which came under direct Chinese control after the end of the conflict.

You see the dislike has been festering for over 50 years…..until recently it has gotten to the point of notice by the world…..

Buried in the Himalayas in the Siliguri Corridor, also known as the Chicken’s neck, Chinese and Indian military forces sit on the respective sides of their vague borders and entrench themselves for what could become a shooting war between nuclear powers.

Both Beijing and New Delhi see the conflict as a shoving match for dominance in the Himalayas, an age-old struggle between the two states that most recently went hot in 1962, before either state had perfected nuclear bombs.

But now a Chinese construction project aiming to build a road that can support 40 ton vehicle traffic threatens a critical passage in India and risks alienating New Delhi from its ally, Bhutan.

Source: China and India are edging closer to a war in Asia that neither can back down from

But what are the areas of dispute that could bring these two nations to the point of war?

The biggest bone of contention is Tibet & Dalai Lama.
This led to the first ever war between these two nations. China is very sensitive about the territorial sovereignty and having Dalai Lama run a shadow government in India has historically been a major irritator for them.

Following Tibet are two border disputes – one in a region called Aksai Chin and another in a region called Arunachal Pradesh. Both nations claim both regions although China controls the former and India the latter. In both these places the geography favors the current arrangement. With both nations nuclear armed, it is inconceivable for any solution other than formalizing the status quo. However, both nations have a fairly noisy nationalist brigade that doesn’t want to lose face by stating that reality. Thus, the border remains unresolved leading to frequent flare up of anger. Balaji Viswanathan’s answer to Why did China invade India in 1962?

The third one and the one rapidly becoming important is the domination of Indian Ocean through a Chinese strategy termed the String of Pearls. Here is a map from that Wiki page. The stars in red circles are China’s plans for naval bases, stars in blue circles are American bases and Indian flags are Indian bases. Red circles surrounding India’s naval bases are feared by India as containment strategy.
Indian government is spending a lot of energy from preventing this from
happening. This includes both defensive punches such as pulling Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh back to Indian sphere of influence and offensive punches such as a counter-containment strategy in South China sea. Vietnam And India Sign Oil, Naval Agreement Amid South China Sea Disputes, Angering Beijing. From India’s perspective, China cannot have it both ways – either both nations stick to their respective oceans or both nations get involved in both places.

The fourth bone of contention that is yet to erupt fully is water. What is the strategic significance of the Tibetan Plateau to China and India? A lot of subcontinent’s water supply comes from the Tibetan Plateau and this is one historic reason why India was uncomfortably having any hostile power control that plateau. However, as China continues to dam in the Tibetan Plateau, the water scarce subcontinent will face greater pressures. China and India are yet to have any kind of water sharing agreement.

Source: China’s Creeping Invasion of India | The Diplomat

This could be problematic for the Trump government…..these two are major trading partners….if bullets fly what will Trump do?  How will he settle this conflict?

Slogans will not work.  A campaign speech will not help.  Diplomacy is not high on the Trump agenda….so the only decision to be made is…..which side will we choose?

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5 thoughts on “Crisis In The Making

  1. Always an interesting region. Given the inhospitable geography, it is a wonder why they dispute ownership, but you have rightly cited water as one of the main reasons. The other reason may well hinge around control of Bhutan. This country has mineral wealth in copper, lead, tin, tungsten, and zinc. There is also coal, gypsum, and limestone. Countries with huge populations like India and China are always looking to gain control of any natural resources.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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