After confrontations in the Himalayan border at the Ladakh region took place between Indian and Chinese soldiers which left several dozen dead due to the hostile environment of the Himalaya, China is allegedly building a helipad at the Pangong Tso lake, an act which is seen as indicating a troop buildup and a consolidation of its position, thereby refusing to reinstate the status quo ante in the region. On the Indian side, Russian arms imports have been reported as a response to the situation. The close relationship between Russia and India in military matters is far from recent, as the two trace their cooperation to the cold war, a fact which constituted a point of contention between the Soviet Union and China.
On the other hand, top-level officials from both parties have met this week to reach a consensus on disengagement. Despite the official stance, it is unknown to which extent the escalation might continue, whether locally or via indirect means.
These developments come following an increase of pressure on the Nepali side to claim territory from India, which resulted in accusations that it may have been China who instigated such a positioning by the Nepali government. At the same time, Chinese construction projects have been reported to cause the loss of territory due to the changing course of rivers in northern Nepal, according to Nepali government documents.
Global movements with China at the center
Following the escalation of tensions with India, several questions emerged with focus on China in other points of the globe and beyond. ASEAN assumed a position of opposition on the situation in the South China Sea, regarding Chinese claims of maritime territory, by invoking the Law of the Sea of 1982, something which hadn’t taken place since the emergence of the “nine-dash-line” question and despite individual members of the organization having shown their opposition to the Chinese maritime strategy.
Also this week, China stated its opposition to the possibility of Japan hosting American missiles within its territory, affirming its intention to respond with “all necessary countermeasures”, if it were to materialize. These developments were accompanied by the launching of the final satellite of its Beidou system, its own navigation alternative to GPS, becoming effectively independent from the American system in this regard. This has led to questions over the possibility of a future war in space, where both China and the US would be able to strike the other’s satellite capabilities and dependence.
In this context, the US have imposed further restrictions on Chinese media, something which was already being put into practice in recent months, forcing them to register as foreign missions. Additionally, the United Kingdom received a warning after approving the establishment of research facilities worth 1 billion British pounds by Huawei.
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