China Starts New Drills as Tensions With India Rise

( – China and India have been engaging in a dispute over who owns a 2,100-mile border in the Himalayas, known as the Line of Actual Control, for decades. The two nations are competing to build infrastructure along the border, which has led to several skirmishes, some fatal. It also increased tensions, and the two sides have been locked in a military stand-off since 2020. Now, China has taken things a step further and is conducting new drills that are only heightening the issue.

China’s Recent Military Drill

On Monday, March 11, China Central Television, a state-run broadcast, announced on the social media platform Weibo that it had carried out a live fire exercise showcasing its surface-to-air missile system. The post said the munition was fired “at a subsonic target aircraft … on the Karakoram Plateau.” They simulated an “enemy aircraft” and noted that the missile “accurately hit the target.”

In an act meant to deter Chinese aggression, India went ahead and tested its Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile.

Soldiers on Both Sides

It’s not just missiles, either. Both countries have armed forces lining the border in India’s Eastern Ladakh, as well as in the Tibet and Xinjiang Chinese regions. It’s estimated that up to 200,000 soldiers total are stationed at various points.

In June 2020, the two sides engaged in a bloody battle for the first time in four decades, reportedly fighting with rocks and clubs. In the end, 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers died from injuries related to the battle. Both sides also suffered injuries in another skirmish that took place in January 2021.

Talks have seemingly gone nowhere, too. The last one was held in mid-February, but India’s deployment of an additional 10,000 troops in early March seems to send the message that tensions are still high between the two Asian nations.

India Continues to Push for Infrastructure

Wang Wenbin, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said the country hopes “India will work in the same direction with China and approach the bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, is pushing for the construction of vital infrastructure in the Himalayas and recently visited Arunachal Pradesh, an area Beijing lays claim to. India, however, maintains that the land is theirs and plans to move forward as such.

In its plans, India wants to build a two-lane tunnel to provide transportation to the remote region year-round. It also wants to develop power generation and roads. China has strongly condemned this move, with Wang telling reporters the country “has no right to arbitrarily develop the area.”

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