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First blood. Unleash whether China and India have a nuclear war
Material posted: Publication date: 17-09-2017
"This is our territory, please leave immediately. This is our territory, please leave it immediately," monotonously repeats the soldiers in light camouflage with stripe Indo-Tibetan border police a couple dozen Chinese soldiers standing on the shore of the Alpine lake Pangong-TSO. This usually works, especially because the patrol could be seen of his fellows soldiers, border guards and soldiers, ready to intervene in case of an incident.

Usually — but not this time. Instead of leaving, the Chinese people bend down and pick up stones. The Indian soldiers strewed the stone castle. They say the same thing, tied a fight. In the hands of the guards flashed steel sticks and batons. In the end the officers manages somehow to restore order, forcing their soldiers to stop throwing rocks at her. Both groups — the Chinese and the Indians — deploying state flags, chanting "This is our land!" and then diverge, taking their victims: a few people from the Indian side and the same with the Chinese.

Pangong-TSO. Photo: Timothy Allen / /

An ordinary skirmish in a mountainous region of Ladakh immediately became the number one topic in the Indian media. A couple of months ago on the news nobody would have paid attention — but now it can hear almost from each iron. And no wonder: kamnemetanie on the banks of Pangong-TSO — only one episode in a protracted border conflict of India and China, which is a growing concern in Beijing and in new Delhi.

On the border of clouds go sullenly

The lake itself has no strategic value: just amazingly beautiful mountain lake, whose name translates as "Lake of high meadows". The water in Pangong-TSO salt, drink it is impossible, even sail boats on it is strictly prohibited to avoid any problems on the lake is the Line of actual control that separates India and China.

At the border of India and China is long and is broken only in two places — where Nepal and Bhutan. It was originally installed in 1914, when the Secretary to the government of British India on foreign Affairs Henry MacMahon signed with Tibet Simiskey Convention.

After India's independence and the return of Tibet under the Chinese rule in relations between Beijing and new Delhi was in conflict: the Chinese claimed that the Tibetan authorities had no right to enter into agreements to bypass the Beijing government, and the Indians believed the Line MacMahon quite legitimate.

The Sino-Indian border. Image:

Ended all war. In 1962, resulting in a short but bloody conflict, the Indian army suffered a crushing defeat. The Chinese occupied the strategically important region of Aksai Chin on the Western border, allowing them to link dear the two most unstable regions — Tibet and Xinjiang. The new line was called the Line of actual control. Now it is, in fact, the border between the two States.

The problem is that this line is still not demarcated. It is not enough that the Aksai Chin is disputed territory, so almost throughout the Line of actual control, there are certain contentious areas like on the banks of Pangong-TSO.

Why both sides are so desperate to cling to a small piece of the coast? Almost all the key heights along the border are in the hands of the Chinese, and each mound has a value — especially for Indians trying to preserve at least some parity.

Taught a lesson

Another problematic section of the border lies in the East — he divides China and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (literally "Land flooded with light the mountains"). The Chinese believe that this area was illegally seized from them by the British, and even called Arunachal Pradesh Southern Tibet. In 1962, defeating the Indian forces, the Chinese occupied most of the state, but then unexpectedly withdrew, returning all the captives. As announced by Chairman Mao, people's China taught India a lesson that it will remember for a long time.

Humiliating defeat firmly entrenched in the memory of Indian soldiers and politicians. A few years ago, after learning that China plans to build a railroad along the line of the Eastern section of the border, the Indians launched a frantic activity, building new rail and road bridges — with the expectation that they could withstand the weight of main battle tanks. Unlike Aksai-Chin, Arunachal Pradesh, the parties are in equal position, and there, in the event of war, all depends on who get it first to deploy force and to ensure their continued supply.

Indian patrol on the McMahon Line. Photo: STR / EPA

The only section of the border, which is properly demarcated, recognized and is not in any doubt is the Central, dividing the territory of China and the Indian state of Sikkim. The Indian military is feeling confident: all the commanding heights and passes in their hands. And it was there, ironically, started the current border conflict nearly escalated into an armed confrontation.

Small road and a big conflict

Windswept high plateau Valleys at the junction of three borders — India, China and Bhutan is so small and its name is so similar to the nearby plateau Declam — another disputed territory that they are often confused, denoting the zone of conflict in a very different place. The Indians and the Bhutanese believe that Dale belongs to Bhutan; the Chinese consider it their territory.

A few years ago Chinese military engineers made another feat of labor, stretching across the Himalayas road to the pass Doka La, who firmly straddled the Indian border guards. Then the Indians turn a blind eye, but in early June, when the Chinese decided that the road should be extended South, in the direction of the ridge Pimpri, political and military leaders in new Delhi was indignant.

The fact is that if the Chinese will come to Pimpri and will occupy the commanding heights, they will remain nothing at all to the narrow Siliguri corridor, which is in the press and even in scientific works lyrically called "Chicken neck" or "Chicken's neck". This strip of Indian land connects North-Eastern States of India, also known as the "Seven sisters", with the main territory of the country. If you start an armed conflict, the Chinese will have enough hours to cut India in two.

And it's not just that. Bhutan — state-India customer, agreed at the time to sacrifice the independence in foreign policy in exchange for protection, which should provide great southern neighbour. If you find that the Bhutanese hoped for it in vain, then India will have to say goodbye to dreams of regional leadership and prospects to become a great power. Who would believe a country which has failed to keep the promise and to help to its closest ally?

So a couple of days after the Chinese began to build a road to Pimpri, the path was blocked by the Indian military. There was a fight — fortunately without weapons, victims from both parties escaped with minor abrasions. The Chinese road construction has stopped — at least temporarily — but deeply offended: in Beijing, said that pre-informed through Embassy channels of Indians about upcoming works. In new Delhi announced that the warnings received, and accused the Chinese builders in the demolition of two Indian bunkers that stood in the way of the future track.

Fake news and the attack of peace

The situation escalated in a matter of days. The media on both sides fueled passion: the Chinese published photographs of the war in 1962, Indians were reminded of the conflict five years later when the Chinese are trying to take the passes, suffered heavy losses and retreated. Hand pulled to the disputed part of the troops up to brigade level, and the Chinese decided to hold a demonstration at artillery exercises near the border.

And not just in their midst, the Pakistani news Agency, Dunya News published the following information: part of the people's liberation army inflicted artillery strike on the Indian border post in Sikkim, more than a hundred Indian soldiers were killed. The message was accompanied by pictures of burning trucks and one dead soldier of the Indian army.

The Indian-Chinese border. Photo: Gurinder Osan / AP

The Chinese and Indian segments of the Internet reigned potrachennoe silence, a Pakistani — were jubilant. Only a few hours, which obviously was spent trying to figure out what happened, Beijing and new Delhi reported: the information is fake, the photo is the result of the Pakistani shelling of one of the Indian border posts in Kashmir, killing two people. After that, the tone of the press on both sides has changed like magic: about the war say no more. We will not give up their claims, the media wrote, but the conflict should be resolved peacefully.

A few days in Beijing for a meeting in the framework of the BRICS has sent the Indian Prime Minister's Advisor on national security Ajit Dov. At negotiations it was agreed that India and China have withdrawn troops from the conflict zone. The agreement and new Delhi and Beijing have done, but the attack of the peace did not last long. India was soon transferred to the Sikkim part of the 33rd corps has begun deploying two hulls in Arunachal Pradesh, and Chinese social networks flashed photos of equipment being transferred to Tibet. The recent incident with stones and clubs on lake Pangong-TSO just threw wood in the fire re-erupted.

The war that nobody needs

However, despite all threatening statements and movements of troops, big war now do not want either in new Delhi or in Beijing. Too great a risk that someone will press the red button.

Small border conflict — is also not an option. No matter how he ended, both sides lose. Defeat would mean an automatic rejection of claims to regional leadership, who are fighting India and China. The victory will cause a surge of suspicion and accusations of expansionist plans and desire to subjugate all the countries of the region. Considering how much money and effort Beijing and new Delhi over the past decade put it in, to stand before the international community the exclusively peaceful countries, the price of victory would be too high.

But a random shot at the border could lead to the escalation of the conflict against the wishes of the parties. Specifically, in order to avoid this, Indian and Chinese generals and colonels along the boundary line meet now any hint of a possible incident, addressing issues at the local level. So, barring something absolutely unforeseen, nuclear war is not expected.

Alexey Kupriyanov


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