Authorities from both parties did not comment on the situation, but media companies kept the public informed of the developments. Indian army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said in a statement that he was aware of at least two strings of unarmed confrontations this month in the northern Ladakh region and further east in the pass of Naku La that connects India’s Sikkim with China’s Tibet.
The conflicts reportedly concluding in injuries on both sides, according to various Indian media outlets.
Two additional clashes took place by Ladakh’s Galwan valley and in Demchok in recent weeks as both parties gathered troops, according to some Indian outlet.
A day after departing Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells cited “provocations and disturbing behaviour by China” at the adjacent regions, China hit out at the US official “talking nonsense.”
“The Chinese border troops are committed to upholding China’s territorial and sovereignty security, responding resolutely to India’s trespassing and infringing activities, and maintaining peace and tranquility in the China-India border areas,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on May 21.
How China and India’s terrifying border tensions may spark wider conflict
India responded soon after, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava branding such claims “not accurate.”
He also said that all Indian activities were occurring within the country’s sovereign domain.
“In fact, it is the Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns,” he told a separate press conference that same day.
Both officials said both nations were discussing the situation via diplomatic channels.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian
However, the two parties continued using belligerent rhetoric over a decades-old disagreement they threatened to restore.
Both countries engaged in a short but destructive border war in 1962.
The conflict concluded in a truce that established the Line of Actual Control, which outlined each country’s territorial limits.
Five years later, there was another bloody conflict and tensions have remained, erupting as a hand-to-hand fight in summer 2017.
That confrontation happened shortly after China set up a road near the Doklam or Donglang plateau and valley owned jointly by the People’s Republic and Bhutan.
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Ahead of the most recent quarrel this month, India began paving a road near the disputed Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh.
It was one of several actions Chinese state media said could trigger a confrontation even more severe than their last three years ago.
“If India failed to stop such provocations as soon as possible, it will impact on Beijing—New Delhi ties—and may even exceed the sort of intensity of the Doklam standoff,” Long Xingchun, a senior research fellow at Beijing Foreign Studies University’s Academy of Regional and Global Governance and president of Chengdu Institute of World Affairs said in an op-ed published Sunday by the governing Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times tabloid.
Attempts to carry out nationalist strategies by both sides have increased tensions with adjacent countries.
China has maintained its right over the South China Sea, while India has asserted control over semi-autonomous Kashmir, including Ladakh.
Ladakhi and Indian workers on Pangong Lake road in northern India’s Ladakh region
India’s claim, which stemmed from changed made to the Indian constitution in August has enraged Pakistan as well as China.
Islamabad and Beijing have bolstered economic, political and defence connections, mounting additional pressure on New Delhi.
Tensions between India and Pakistan boiled over in a major confrontation resulting in cross-border violence last February.
Additionally, India’s road works also sparked fury in neighbouring Nepal.
Washington has warned regional governments such as Kathmandu and Islamabad against bonding too much with Beijing over what the US government deems to be predatory Chinese moves in international relations.
President Donald Trump, in turn, has ensured he strengthened his relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.