Mega-nations China and India have a long history of a territorial dispute regarding their yet-to-be demarcated 3,488-kilometre Sino-Indian border. The region involves Aksai Chin, located either in the Indian union territory of Ladakh, or the Chinese autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and McMahon Line, formerly known as the North-East Frontier Agency and now called Arunachal Pradesh.
Between India and China, is a deep pool of mistrust and conflict concerning their borders with the current Line of Actual Control (LAC). LAC forms the adequate border between the two countries dating back to boundaries drawn up before India’s independence in 1947. It has been the subject of numerous rounds of talks and agreements between the two ever since.
The broadening dispute includes a 4-week war lost by India in 1962 and other recent issues like the Doklam stand-off in 2017. Doklam dates back to the Simla Convention in 1914, where representatives of British India and Tibet signed an agreement without China to formalise an eastern border known as the McMahon Line. While Beijing never agreed to the line, the Indian government adopted the boundary as the official border in the area between India and China. As of 2020, India continues to maintain that the McMahon Line is the legal border in the east.
Flowing from this, the two nuclear-armed nations, with a combined population of more than two billion, have never agreed on the length of the LAC. India believes the LAC to be 2,175 miles in length, while China considers it to be only around 1,242 miles.
India and China have been engulfed in a stand-off since April-May this year over the apparent transgressions by the Chinese Army crossing into multiple Indian territory areas. Relations between the two countries deteriorated further since June when Chinese and Indian troops faced each other, armed only with sticks and rocks, in the disputed Ladakh border area. This resulted in at least 20 Indian soldiers being killed and about 80 wounded in the skirmish – the first occasion in 40 years where death came as a result of LAC tensions.
All summer, military officials from India have tried to establish peace in the area, and last week officials finally agreed with a five-point consensus put in place to help de-escalate the flare-ups and take bilateral ties towards a healthier direction.