China and India: Enemies Again?
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out an uncomfortable truth: Namely that the world’s two most populous nations, China and India, still really do not like nor trust each other very much. And, to add some spice to this long-standing rivalry, one needs to only remember that these two Asian giants share a very long border, but that they are both nuclear powers.
As stated in the WSJ:
On June 8, New Delhi announced it would deploy two additional army divisions and two air force squadrons near its border with China. Beijing responded furiously to the Indian announcement, hardening its claim to some 90,000 square kilometers of Indian territory that China disputes.
China and India fought a nasty border war back in 1962, over disputed land along the border, and they never really settled the issue satisfactorily. The WSJ points out that in recent years, China has worked hard to put in many roads and other infrastructure that could facilitate troop and weapon movement in the event of a new conflict. India has not done similar work on its side of the border.
In recent years however China has been raising the temperature at the border. Chinese claims to Arunachal Pradesh and frequent Chinese “incursions” into the nearby Indian state of Sikkim have begun to multiply in line with Beijing’s rising economic and political influence. Moreover, unlike India, China has methodically developed its infrastructure along the disputed border, littering the barren terrain with highways and railways capable of moving large numbers of goods and troops.
For its part, New Delhi has become both increasingly aware of its disadvantage and exceedingly suspicious of China’s intentions. India’s June 8 announcement that it will deploy two additional army mountain divisions to the northeastern state of Assam will bring India’s troop levels in the region to more than 100,000. The Indian Air Force, meanwhile, announced it will station two squadrons of advanced Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft in Tezpur, also in Assam. They will be complemented by three Airborne Warning and Control Systems and the addition or upgrade of airstrips and advanced landing stations.
The article also points out that China has invested in projects in nations throughout South Asia, including in nations with ongoing or recent issues with India, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
China has been spending a lot of financial and political capital to extend its influence around Asia, and also into Africa and Latin America. China’s military is quickly improving and modernizing by leaps and bounds. India is bordered by nations who do not like India, and China is making friends with India’s other enemies, such as Myanmar/Burma. India had best watch out, and the American government needs to work hard to keep China from flexing its muscles at the expense of democratic India.