A recent border dispute between China and India have resulted in multiple casualties including deaths. It is the first time in decades that this scale of violence has been seen between the two nations. Western headlines have immediately tried to play up the notion of conflict between China and India, but to what end?
China and India respectively have the two largest populations. Both find themselves within the top 5 largest economies on Earth. Both have tremendous historical, cultural, and political influence regionally as well as growing influence globally.
Recent headlines have focused on a simmering conflict along China and India’s borders, but at other times in recent years, Chinese and Indian cooperation have been on the rise – a fact conveniently underreported in many articles.
Of course, neither China nor India as nations benefit from armed conflict between one another. Both nations possess large conventional armed forces and both nations possess nuclear weapons. Both nations have suffered from the impact of COVID-19 economically. A large-scale conflict would be costly and catastrophic for China and India.
China has maintained that it was merely responding to Indian aggression along the border and claims it seeks to quickly deescalate tensions.
China’s CGTN in an article titled, “China’s military urges India to stop provocative actions along border areas,” would claim:
China’s military voiced strong dissatisfaction and opposition Tuesday to India’s provocative actions on Monday evening in the Galwan Valley region, which caused severe clashes and casualties. It urged India to go back to the right track in properly managing disputes.
Conversely, India’s media tells a different tale. The violence has been immediately leaped upon by hawks to bolster entirely unrelated issues involving China’s “challenge” to the international “status quo.” It is a narrative that sounds torn straight from a Washington-based think tank’s white papers.
The Indian Express in an article titled, “Explained: What the clash in Ladakh underlines, and what India must do in face of the Chinese challenge,” cites Indian politicians, explaining that the incident serves as impetus to create a wider confrontation with China in a bid to roll back not only its regional influence – but its growing global reach.