China and India ‘edge closer to war’ as grave human tragedy warning issued

China and India are edging towards war as world leaders are urged to act to avoid "grave human tragedy".

A former commander in India's Army warned both sides will continue to prepare to fight until their 3,500km border dispute is resolved.

Lieutenant General PJS Pannu told The Independent conflict between the Asian nuclear-armed powerhouses would involve a third of humanity – with everyone else affected in some way.

He said: "The onus lies on the political and diplomatic community to find solutions to avoid grave human tragedy.

“Not only in Asia but also for a larger part of the word. If this kind of irrationality persists, people will lose their jobs, health and lives. Economies are already shrinking.

“China is inviting anger of the whole world … A war would mean the world attacking China from all directions.”

Last month China and India agreed they would stop sending more troops to the contested border.

A joint press release issued by the Indian government said both countries agreed to “avoid misunderstandings and misjudgements” and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground”.

But earlier this month India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi opened a Himalayan tunnel that would drastically reduce the time needed to rush troops to the country’s remote Chinese border.

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Meanwhile Australia announced on Tuesday that it would for the first time take part in naval exercises with India, Japan and the United States in the Indian Ocean.

The two countries have been involved in a long-running feud over its border in the western Himalayas.

A clash in the Ladakh region became deadly in June with 20 Indian soldiers killed in the Galwan Valley while China suffered an unspecified number of casualties.

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