Sunday, June 20

What Is the ‘Line of Actual Control’ Border Between India and China?

One Indian officer and two soldiers were killed by Chinese troops late Monday in a clash along the disputed India-China border, the first such episode in decades, military experts said. The violence is a continuation of a decades-old dispute between the two nuclear powers over the precise location of their Himalayan border.

Six decades ago, India and China went to war over a border dispute that ended with an uneasy truce in 1962.

While no border has ever officially been negotiated along the forbidding stretch of land high in the Himalayas that divides the two nations, the truce established a 2,100-mile-long Line of Actual Control.

Since then, an uneasy peace has held. But every time there is a flare-up of violence, the world watches anxiously.

China and India are the two most populous nations on earth, both armed with nuclear weapons, led by governments that have built support, in large part, by appeals to nationalist sentiment.

In recent months, tensions have spilled over into brawls between soldiers. And late Monday, the violence reached dangerous heights when an Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed by Chinese troops.

It was said to be the first time in decades that the fighting at 14,000 feet had led to casualties.

While the Line of Actual Control was devised to create a demarcation line and to ease tensions between the nations after the 1962 war, many areas remain in dispute.

Both China and India have pressed their claims by building up infrastructure like roads, telephone lines and airstrips, and by sending troops on regular patrols.

The spark for the recent tensions seems to have been a road to a remote air force base that the Indian Army is building through mountain passes in the Galwan Valley, which military analysts say is fully within Indian territory. Experts say that the Chinese are determined to frustrate India’s efforts to upgrade its military positions.

Preliminary reports on Tuesday indicated that the Indian soldiers had not been shot, but had been killed in a fight involving rocks and wooden clubs.

It was not immediately clear how India would respond.

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