In August 2017, China and India found themselves in a tense standoff in the Himalayan region which lasted for weeks. The row began in mid-June when India said it opposed a Chinese attempt to further develop and extend a border road in the region. As the BBC reported at the time, as China withdrew its troops from the region and brought the hostility to an end, that President Xi Jinping and co “claimed victory”. The article was titled “China claims victory over India in Himalayan border row”.
Chinese state media covered the story by referring to Indian troops as “trespassers”.
Atul Bhardwaj, adjunct fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, told BBC News that an agreement was the “only alternative” since a confrontation between the two Asian giants “could not have gone on”.
He added that India needs China for economic reasons, and that this might have influenced the decision.
He added that the resolution showed “India had initially given primacy to its relationship and commitments to Bhutan” but officials had clearly changed their mind.
Mr Bhardway said: “India needs Chinese markets and Chinese investments.”
He also said it would be interesting to see the political fallout of the decision in India, given that Delhi had said it would not back down.
China’s president – Xi Jinping – has invested heavily in the country’s Belt and Road Initiative, including a road building project in the mountainous areas of Asia.
This sparked fury in India however, as the country accused Beijing of territorial intrusions.
In 2017, the Indian government described the road building projects as a “significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India”.
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The controversial road runs through the disputed Doklam Plateau, on the unmarked border between China and Bhutan – a small country which sits between India and China.
Though not a part of Indian territory, the plateau holds immense strategic importance for Delhi and is vital to its geopolitical interests.
Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London told CNN in 2017: “The area in contention is extremely close to a very vulnerable stretch of Indian territory that effectively connects the bulk of India to its north-eastern states.
“Additional construction could skew the local balance of power in China’s favour, essentially leaving India more vulnerable to invasion in case of a military confrontation with Beijing.”
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While recent clashes have come in the Doklam region, this week’s skirmish came in the Ladakh region of Kashmir.
After weeks of growing tensions on the border between China and India, there were “casualties on both sides” according to the Indian army after a clash in the disputed region.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman accused Indian troops of violating a consensus between the two sides “by illegally crossing the border twice and carrying out provocative attacks on Chinese soldiers, resulting in serious physical clashes”.
However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed that the Indian deaths “will not be in vain”.