Monday, May 6, 2013

The Most Dangerous Border in the World

Why is China picking a fight with India?  


Editor's note: On Monday, India's foreign ministry announced that India and China had agreed to withdraw troops from their disputed Himalayan border and end a tense three-week standoff between the world's two most populous countries. 
The night before Beijing released its biennial defense white paper in mid-April, avowing that it would not "engage in military expansion," roughly 30 Chinese troops marched 12 miles into Indian-controlled territory. For at least the last five years, the Chinese military has routinely made forays across the disputed 2,400-mile-long Line of Actual Control that divides the two countries. The Indian government counted 400 similar incursions last year, and already 100 in 2013.

But for the first time since 1986, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops refused to return home after being detected. They instead pitched three tents. New Delhi quickly summoned the Chinese ambassador, and Indian military officials protested to their Chinese counterparts. The Chinese soldiers responded by pitching two more tents, and erecting a sign, in English, that said "You are in Chinese side." Three rounds of unsuccessful negotiations broke off May 1, with Beijing demanding that New Delhi unilaterally withdrawal from its own territory before it would consider removing its encampment. Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman denied that PLA troops had even penetrated the boundary, paradoxically noting, "China is firmly opposed to any acts that involve crossing the Line of Actual Control and sabotaging the status quo." 

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