After weeks of growing tensions on the border between China and India, there have been “casualties on both sides” according to the Indian army after a clash in the disputed region. The deaths are the first loss of life in the border area in at least 45 years, and could signal fresh tension between two of the world’s biggest nuclear powers. The Indian Army statement said: “During the de-escalation process under way in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday [Monday] night with casualties on both sides.
“The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation.”
According to Global Fire Power – a website which compiles relevant information on the militaries of countries around the world, China looks more prepared for recurring conflict than India.
The statistics highlight firstly that Chinese President Xi Jinping has used his country’s booming economy in recent years to accumulate a staggering £187billion defence budget.
Meanwhile, while India also has a rapidly growing economic status – its investment in its military pales in comparison as its defence budget currently stands at just under £50billion.
This would suggest that if a war between China and India were to break out, Xi Jinping would be better equipped to instantaneously enhance his forces.
In terms of air power, China also appears dominant with more aircraft – and crucially, with more combat aircraft with 1232 to India’s 538.
On the ground however, it is much harder to tell whose forces would likely come out on top, as India boasts more combat tanks with over 4000 to China’s 3500.
However, Beijing’s forces have 33,000 armoured vehicles to India’s 8686, four times the amount Prime Minister Modi’s forces are equipped with.
India however, does hold more artillery power.
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It is too early to tell whether such a conflict will happen, as the Indian army has claimed that “senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation”.
It also remains unclear whether shots had been fired or if the men were killed in hand-to-hand combat.
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”.
With decades of tension preceding the latest skirmish however, China and India’s geopolitical tensions show no sign of waning.