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India ‘expects’ more clashes with Chinese troops in Himalayas

Delhi: As Beijing builds military infrastructure in Ladakh, Indian police expect more encounters with Chinese forces along their contentious border.

In 2020, the Asian giants clashed in Ladakh, in the western Himalayas, killing at least 24 soldiers. Military and diplomatic discussions eased tensions. In December, the two groups clashed in the eastern Himalayas without casualties.

Reuters reviewed the Ladakh Police’s new, confidential research document, which was presented at a January 20–22 summit of top police personnel.

China’s foreign ministry claimed the border situation was stable and the Indian army did not react.

The paper based its assessment on border police intelligence and India-China military tensions over time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the New Delhi gathering where the assessment was presented. India’s defence and foreign ministries also declined to comment.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said Saturday that China and India were communicating through diplomatic and military channels.

“Aksai Chin is an inseparable part of China’s territory,” the ministry said, referring to a disputed region between Xinjiang and Tibet and east of Ladakh in India.

China has built buildings for its soldiers, weaponry and ammo stores, and helipads along the Himalayan border since the present conflict began in 2020.

The government said China has full jurisdiction over normal construction on its own land.

The Indian study paper stated, “Given the domestic compulsions… in China and their economic interests in the region, the PLA will continue to build up its military infrastructure and skirmishes would also get frequent which may or may not follow a pattern.”

“Skirmishes and tensions have escalated since 2013-2014 with an interval of 2-3 years,” it claimed.

“With PLA’s vast infrastructure build up on Chinese side, both forces are testing one other’s reaction, strength of artillery and infantry mobilisation time”.

Since 1950, India and China have disputed a 3,500 km (2,100 mile) border. It sparked a 1962 war.