China v India: Why has conflict erupted in Asia – tensions explained

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On Monday both the Chinese and Indian military have suffered casualties in a border clash. The editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times Hu Xijin revealed the casualties on China’s side saying in a tweet: “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical class.” He did not give further details.

The Indian army said there had been an incident on Monday and both sides had suffered casualties.

The army said: “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties on both sides,” the army said.

“The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.

“Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”

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The Indian army added an officer and two soldiers were killed in a “violent faceoff” with Chinese troops in the disputed Kashmir region.

These are the first casualties in decades to result from a clash between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Former Indian army commander D S Hooda said: “This is extremely, extremely serious, this is going to vitiate whatever dialogue was going on.

India’s main stock indexes gave up early gains to fall as much as 0.8 percent after the news, but were last up around 0.2 percent by 7.58am GMT, while the rupee weakened to 76.1 against the dollar.

Why has conflict erupted in Asia?

India and China have been locked in a standoff in the Galwan valley in western Himalayas for weeks with each accusing the other of trespassing into their territory.

India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 and have not been unable to settle their border dispute despite talks spread over two decades.

Border guards have had skirmishes, even fisticuffs when patrols have confronted each other, but there has been no loss of life for more than 30 years.

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The Chinese foreign ministry called on India not to take any unilateral action or stir up trouble.

A ministry spokesman in Bejing said there was a serious violation of the consensus reached by the two countries when Indian troops provoked and attacked Chinese personnel, leading to a serious physical conflict.

The Asian giants have rival claims to vast swathes of territory along their mountainous 3,500 km (2,173 mile) border, but the disputes have remained largely peaceful since the 1962 war.

Indian military officials said previously Chinese soldiers had entered into India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or the de facto border at several locations in early May.

Since then both sides have held talks but there had been no breakthrough.

Reports said in early May, Chinese forces put up tents, dug trenches and moved heavy equipment several kilometres inside what had been regarded by India as its territory.

The move came after India built a road several hundred kilometres long connecting to a high-altitude forward air base which it reactivated in 2008.

Ajai Shukla, an Indian military expert who served as a colonel in the army told the BBC: “The situation is serious.

“The Chinese have come into territory which they themselves accepted as part of India. It has completely changed the status quo.”

However, China has a different view, stating it is India which has changed facts on the ground.

Dr Long Xingchun, president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs (CIWA) said: “According to the Chinese military, India is the one which has forced its way into the Galwan valley.

“So, India is changing the status quo along the LAC – that has angered the Chinese.”

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