Reports of Chinese incursions into India raise tensions between the nuclear-armed neighboursMay 29th 2020WHEN INDIAN and Chinese soldiers brawled at
WHEN INDIAN and Chinese soldiers brawled at Pangong lake in Ladakh earlier this month—a punch-up serious enough to leave many in hospital—General M.M. Naravane, India’s army chief, was unworried. Such “temporary and short-duration face-offs” happened from time to time at such remote stretches of the two countries’ 3,500km border, he said. Both sides had “disengaged”. But a week later he dashed north to the headquarters of his 14th Corps in nearby Leh, the state capital, suggesting that something more serious was afoot.
According to Indian press accounts, Chinese troops have crossed the disputed border with India at several points, some reportedly penetrating 3-4km over punishing Himalayan terrain. Many are said to have destroyed Indian posts and bridges, and dug in with tents and trenches. Incursions have been reported in at least three spots: the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers; the Hot Springs area; and the northern bank of Pangong lake, the site of the original scrap (see map). On May 27th Donald Trump, America’s president, offered to mediate in what he described as a “now raging border dispute”.
There is considerable uncertainty over the precise size and location of the forces involved, but Ajai Shukla, a former army colonel now with the Business…