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India's border adventurism harms ties: China Daily editorial
update:December 19,2022
Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]
The un-demarcated 3,400-kilometer Sino-Indian border has long been the source of tensions between the two countries. Yet thanks to confidence-building measures and peace-keeping mechanisms established between the two sides, not a single bullet has been fired across the border over the past four decades and peace and tranquility have generally been maintained there.
There have, however, been sporadic violent clashes between Chinese and Indian border troops, as happened in South Tibet on Friday. Unlike the deadly brawl in Galwan Valley in June 2020, there appear to have been no deaths on this occasion, although there were reportedly injuries on both sides.
According to a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army's Western Theater, the latest incident was sparked when Chinese border guards organized a routine patrol on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control, which was blocked by Indian troops that had illegally crossed the line.
That the two sides "immediately disengaged from the area" and their respective commanders on the ground met to discuss the issue in "accordance with structured mechanisms", as Colonel Long Shaohua said in a statement on Tuesday, suggests the two neighbors are capable of preventing the situation from spiraling out of control through dialogue and consultations.
It is disappointing that the skirmish came just weeks after the two countries held the 25th meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on China-India border affairs on Oct 14, at which the two sides spoke highly of the achievements made in the disengagement of border troops.
But it is notable that the Indian troops have become more provocative in recent years, with a higher frequency of intrusions into China-controlled areas. This has severely heightened tensions to the detriment of peace and stability along the border.
The nationalistic sentiment in India aside, the ever closer military cooperation between India and the United States on the premise of countering an "increasingly assertive and aggressive" China may also have played a part in some Indian military hawks trying to push the envelope on the border issue. It is surely no coincidence that just days before the latest skirmish, India and the US conducted a high altitude joint military exercise in Uttarakhand near the Sino-Indian border, a move that China's Foreign Ministry said was "not helpful for building bilateral trust".
India must restrain its troops from trespassing across the Line of Actual Control and work with China to calm the situation. The aggravating of the border tensions is obviously not in the interest of either China or India, as such clashes threaten to negatively affect the development of bilateral relations on a broader front.
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