Chinese authorities reported this weekend a new border incident between the forces of the People's Liberation Army and the Indian forces facing them along the border line between the two countries in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, which has already been the subject of numerous tensions between the two countries in recent months. This time, according to the report of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Chinese troops were forced to use warning shots to stop the redeployment of Indian forces across the border, obviously creating a new resurgence of tension between Beijing and New Delhi. The Indian authorities, for their part, accuse the Chinese forces of provocation, and maintain that they have only responded to the movements of the Chinese armies themselves.
Anyway, Beijing has just confirmed a vast movement of troops aimed at redeploying forces on the Ladakh plateaus. According to the article published today by the globaltimes.cn site, the PLA would have announced the dispatch of airborne forces, artillery and air defense, as well as armored vehicles, special forces units and bombers, marking a very clear escalation in the current crisis in this region. According to the Chinese state website, the deployed units belong to the 71st and 72nd Army Group, along with other units from across the country. These troop movements intervene after several months of latent but very significant reinforcement on both sides of the demarcation line, Beijing having deployed armored vehicles, mobile artillery pieces et long-range anti-aircraft defense systems, New Delhi having for its part reinforced the presence of armored vehicles, medium-range anti-aircraft means, combat helicopters as well as fighter planes in the direct vicinity of the area.
For now, the Indian authorities have not yet formally responded to this massive Chinese strengthening at its Himalayan border, but there is little doubt that this response is being prepared, and should be just as massive as that of neighbor, New Delhi can not afford to show the slightest sign of weakness vis-à-vis Beijing, as its public opinion, in this matter. It is also quite possible that the Indian response is not limited to the Ladakh plateaus alone, to include the strengthening of the presence of the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal, along the famous "Silk Road". Considered by the Chinese authorities as strategic. The Indian Navy had already deployed a destroyer in the China Sea a few days ago, provoking the anger of the Chinese authorities who accused New Delhi of "playing into the hands of the United States".
It is very difficult to say where the Sino-Indian reciprocal provocations in Ladakh will stop, or even if they will not lead to a real armed conflict. It is obvious that neither of the two countries would, at first glance, have an interest today in calling into question the status quo which has endured since 1962 in this region, at least in the short term. However, there are many forces at work to explain the continuing increase in tensions in this region between the two countries. It is indeed unlikely that troops, whether Chinese or Indian, will begin to move along this highly sensitive and guarded border, without having received an order from the highest authorities. In fact, whatever the authorities of the two countries say, one of them, or even both, are in search of a significant deterioration in Sino-Indian relations, with, as a result, a possible confrontation in the 'Himalayas.
However, in this diagram, it is Beijing that seems to have the most reasons to act, even if it denies it. For the Chinese authorities, a rapprochement between New Delhi and Washington would undoubtedly be a major obstacle to their regional ambitions, India being able to provide the demographic mass of which the United States, like their allies, are sorely lacking. be able to contain Chinese expansion. However, the signing of a Defense agreement between the two countries can only be considered in the context of a relatively peaceful situation at the Indian borders. Indeed, otherwise, the United States could find itself de facto at war against China, with the consequences that we imagine on international relations but also on the world economy, even in the context of a latent or limited conflict.
In fact, the current crisis could very well be a Chinese strategy aimed at preventing this formal rapprochement between Washington and Beijing, as the capture of Crimea by Russia and especially the Donbas war have, since 2014, prevented Ukraine from getting closer. NATO and the European Union. Because if Western public opinion can agree to declare a war in the face of aggression (real or supposed), finding itself in a situation of war with the second world economic and military power by “transitivity” would be much more difficult to sustain. In contrast, New Delhi's direct or indirect motivations to take advantage of this crisis are much more difficult to identify, especially since the country is already today largely handicapped by the health crisis linked to the Coronavirus.
Be that as it may, it now seems unlikely that the repeated tensions which regularly agitate Sino-Indian relations in Ladakh as on the seas, can only be the consequence of a mutual disagreement on the intentions of each. Under these conditions, the reinforced deployment of troops operated by Beijing in recent days could indeed constitute the beginnings of a regional military operation, the objective of which would be, as explained above, to create a crisis situation potentially preventing military rapprochement. and strategic between the United States and India. To see, from now on, what will be the response of New Delhi, but also that of Washington, if indeed that is that American policies can devote themselves today to something other than the presidential elections to come….