Himalaya disputed, clashes and deaths on the border between India and China


BEIJING – At least three Indian soldiers, including a colonel, died in a “violent confrontation” with Chinese forces last night along the disputed border in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, a spokesman for the Dehli army reported Tuesday afternoon. According to some Indian sources, there are also victims on the Chinese side, which at the moment are not officially reported. This is the first clash between the two armies with victims since 1975, an episode that risks taking the already very fragile relationships between the two Asian superpowers beyond the breaking point. According to the Indian army, officers from the two camps are arguing on the spot to “calm down” the situation.For weeks now, along the border between China and India, 3500 kilometers many of which have been contested for years by the two powers, provocations and small scuffles follow one another. The two countries, both governed by nationalist leaders, continued to mass soldiers in strategic areas, amid mutual accusations that they had crossed the border. Some fists and punches and beatings caused injuries, although not serious. In recent days, however, the tension seemed to have eased thanks to a series of contacts between the two general staffs. Last Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry had explicitly spoken of a “consensus” for the de-escalation. But evidently the tension remained at the forefront, up to the violent clash and the deaths of this night. Beijing’s foreign ministry accused India of “crossing the border twice on Monday to conduct illegal activities, provoking and attacking Chinese personnel”, arguing however that the two sides would agree to “resolve the matter with dialogue “. Something in this de-escalation has obviously gone wrong.
Waiting to know the details, the seriousness of the episode already appears destined to put a strain on relations between the two countries, whose public opinion, by the will of their respective leaders, is inflamed with nationalistic rhetoric. Last year the Chinese president Xi Jinping and the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi they had tried to recompose the relationships with a series of “informal” meetings, the last of which was held in Wuhan in October. Despite the words to honey, however, neither of the two powers intends to move back a step in their border claims. Indeed, in the following months both China, penetrating at various points in Indian territory, and India, strengthening some roads and links close to the border, continued to shore up their respective positions, considered strategic for military, economic and image issues . The accident was in the air, it remains to be seen whether and how the two countries will manage it

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