Tensions between India and China are heating up as talks between the two countries continue.
Despite China’s assurances to its own citizens that it intends to build rapport with its southwestern neighbour, India says that the country is now exploring “military options” to deal with the ongoing border dispute regarding the shared Himalayan border.
The two countries are currently engaged in diplomatic talks following deadly border clashes, which culminated in hand-to-hand combat between the two sides, leaving multiple soldiers on both sides dead, Newsweek reports.
Discussions that began in June sought to defuse tensions as both India and China militarized their sides of the border.
China establishes new positions in contested region
Satellite imagery shows that Chinese forces established new positions along the border beyond the Line of Actual Control, which was established in 1962 to officially divide the two nations. The Chinese military has repeatedly breached the border since April, extending its control of the disputed territory with new positions and patrols.
Newsweek reports that India lagged behind its Chinese neighbour in the Himalayas in the past decades but recently renewed its efforts to establish a comparable military infrastructure in the region, which Chinese troops have interfered with through repeated incursions along the border.
Soldiers on both sides involved in recent skirmishes are not allowed to carry firearms, meaning they resorted to using melee weapons to kill their opponents. Both sides sustained serious casualties from falling to their deaths as they fought in the mountains.
Indian General says military option available if necessary
Neither side has agreed to withdraw from the contested “Fingers” region of Eastern Ladakh, where the skirmishes took place. Speaking to reporters on Monday, a senior Indian officer warned that the situation could escalate should talks between the two nations are unsuccessful.
Indian Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that the country was prepared for military action in the region.
"The military option to deal with transgressions by the Chinese army in Ladakh are on, but it will be exercised only if talks at the military and the diplomatic level fail," Rawat said, per ThePrint.