Eyeball to Eyeball at the Top of the World

The last six months have witnessed a proliferation of incidents along the disputed Sino-Indian frontier. While fears of imminent major hostilities are clearly overblown, as China, with the Olympics looming, is unlikely to initiate a clash, Chinese officials have taken pains to assert China's claim to 92,000 square miles of Indian territory.

NEW DELHI ­– When a foreign minister goes out of his way to assure reporters that there is no tension on his country’s borders with a powerful neighbor, the logical tendency is to wonder whether “the lady doth protest too much.” After all, you don’t hear Canada’s foreign minister denying tension on his country’s American frontier, because the truth of that proposition is self-evident. The claim by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on a June visit to Beijing that the Sino-Indian border is tension-free has prompted cynical observers to assume the opposite.

They are right to do so. The last six months have witnessed a proliferation of incidents along the 2,520-mile (4,057-kilometer) Sino-Indian frontier. Nearly a hundred have been recorded, including no fewer than 65 incursions by China’s People’s Liberation Army in just one sector – the evocatively-named Finger Area, a 2.1-square-kilometer salient in the Indian state of Sikkim, which shares a 206-kilometer border with Tibet.

While India seeks to downplay such reports, one incident that did make it into the Indian press occurred inside the “Line of Actual Control” (LAC) on the western sector of the border at Demchok, in India’s Ladakh district. A mixed civilian-military team investigating reports of Chinese incursions were, on May 16, threatened and forced to retreat by a PLA formation in three armored vehicles. The Chinese soldiers allegedly assumed firing positions, leading the Indians to withdraw in order not to provoke a shooting match.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/nE6ZWlB;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now