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New Delhi: The 2020 India–China clashes are part of an ongoing military standoff between India and China along the Sino-Indian border, a territorial dispute over the control of two relatively large, and several smaller, separated pieces of territory between India and China.
The main reason of conflict between the two stems from the fact that the border between China and India is disputed at multiple locations. There is no publicly available map depicting the Indian version of the LAC and the Chinese version of the LAC mostly consists of claims in the Ladakh region, but China also claims Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India.
First major Sino-Indian Border Conflict occurred in 1962 primarily due to China's opinion of India as a threat to its rule of Tibet. Various conflicts and military incidents between India and China flared up throughout the summer of 1962. On October 20, 1962, China's People's Liberation Army invaded India in Ladakh, and across the McMahon Line in the then North-East Frontier Agency. According to China's official military history, the war achieved China's policy objectives of securing borders in its western sector. Following the 1962 Sino-Indian War, tensions continued to run high along the Himalayan border shared by the two countries. Second Sino-Indian War were a series of military clashes in late 1967 at Nathu La and Cho La in Sikkim alongside the Himalayan border. The Nathu La conflict ended with a cease fire and according to sources, the Chinese were forced to withdraw nearly three kilometers in Cho La during this clash.
The Sino-Indian border remained peaceful after these incidents till 2020 India–China face offs. Since 5 May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops have reportedly engaged in aggressive face-offs at several locations along the Sino-Indian border. However, The India-China face-off in Galwan Valley has been labelled by some as “unprecedented”, especially due to the high number of deaths of Indian soldiers in the 15 June clashes, even though the two countries fought a war in 1962 and were involved in a bloody conflict in 1967. According to Indian sources, the clash on 15/16 June 2020 resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers (including an officer) and casualties of 43 Chinese soldiers (including death of an officer).
Multiple reasons have been cited as the trigger for these clashes:
Following the Galwan incident, military sources said Indian troops would no longer be bound by the long-held practice of not using firearms in face-offs (as per 1996 and 2005 agreements). Sources said a “tough” approach is being adopted to guard the border. In response to the conflict, Indian government even took a series of actions including raising of tariffs on Chinese goods, restricting Chinese investments and banning TikTok as well as 58 other Chinese apps from Indian phones. Various types of action are being taken on the economic front including cancellation and additional scrutiny of certain contracts with Chinese firms, and efforts are being made to stop the entry of the Chinese into strategic markets in India such as the telecom sector.
These recent clashes have now begun a new phase in Sino-Indian relations and the broader relationship between these two Asian powers with India gaining support of US military in conflict with China.