May 28, 2020 - World

China and India engage in border standoff high in the Himalayas

A Chinese and an Indian soldier during a ceremony in 2006. Photo: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP via Getty Images

India on Thursday rejected President Trump's offer to mediate what he called a "raging" border dispute with China, saying diplomatic and military channels to China had been engaged to resolve the Himalayan standoff bilaterally.

Where things stand: It's very difficult to tell, given the paucity of information trickling down from the mountains. But reports of Chinese incursions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), followed by troop reinforcements from both sides, are cause for concern.

  • China had objected to Indian road-building near the disputed border, which the countries fought a war over in 1962.
  • That may be why its troops ventured across the LAC, reportedly digging in with tents and even destroying some Indian guard posts and bridges, per the Economist.
  • Indian and Chinese troops brawled near Pangong Lake (elevation: 14,000 ft.) earlier this month, with some reportedly sent to the hospital but, thankfully, no shots fired.
  • This is far from the first standoff along the border, but it appears to be the most serious since at least 2017.

The big picture: Both countries are in the midst of nationalistic moments as they attempt to define themselves as global powers, but neither government has yet unleashed the full force of nationalistic fervor against the other.

  • That should leave them room to climb down, as long as any future clashes are also waged with fists, and not guns.
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