KT edit: China and India must ease tensions
The border is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but both sides perceive it differently, the main reason for the flare-ups that happen almost every year
War is not the answer when a pandemic is raging and sickening millions across the world. War is never the answer when talks work better within the bilateral framework laid by the countries facing off or under international law. India and China have a common responsibility to maintain peace along their 3,500km border over the Himalayan heights. The border is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but both sides perceive it differently, the main reason for the flare-ups that happen almost every year. Indian and Chinese border patrol skirmishes are common as there is a lack of clarity on where the line really is. It's like a line in the snow that two sides keep claiming as their own. But, despite this confusion, a quirk of history, the two countries have managed to keep animosities down, though they went to war in 1962.
Since then, there has been relative calm, with claims of land and verbal charges thrown at each other. Negotiations have been ongoing but a resolution appears remote after the latest skirmish in the Ladakh region. No shots were fired but soldiers on both sides have been injured. Past agreements have ensured that the situation does not go out of hand. The flare up this time has lasted almost a month and armies on both sides appear in no mood to step back from their positions. There has been aggressive talk and troop movement. The latest episode was triggered after construction activity near the Galwan Valley. Chinese troops were moved. India matched the number and the situation has been tense since then. India is building airpads and roads on its side of the border and has ramped up infrastructure in recent years. China had a head start and was ahead on that front. Easier troop mobilisation on both sides could trigger a confrontation that is not advisable. Both sides have a lot more to lose than gain from these deployments. Leaders have called for peace while troops maintain aggressive posturing on the ground. The signals are mixed and US President Donald Trump, not one to miss an opportunity to show off his non-existent diplomatic skills, has offered to mediate, where else, but on Twitter. Land swap agreements should be considered by both sides to resolve the border dispute. The LAC must be made clear to both countries that are merely treating the symptoms and not the problem on the border to resolve their decades-old dispute. The LAC issue must be resolved for sustainable peace between Asia's biggest powers.