China, India Aim for Peace But Keep Edging Toward Conflict at Border

China, India Aim for Peace But Keep Edging Toward Conflict at Border

China and India have publicly sought peace at their mountainous, contested border, but the two sides continue to edge toward dangerous conflict as they exchange blows, blame, and even the first gunshots to be fired over their feud in nearly half a century.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Western Command Theater spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili first announced Monday that Chinese troops were “forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation” after Indian soldiers “illegally” crossed the Line of Actual Control near Pangong Lake that forms the de facto divide between India-administered Ladakh and China-administered Aksai Chin. Notably, Zhang said Indian personnel fired warning shots, marking the first such incident in 45 years.

“We demand the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions, withdraw cross-line troops right away, strictly restrain its frontline troops, earnestly investigate and punish the personnel who fired shots, and guarantee against the occurrence of similar incidents,” Zhang said.

But in a statement sent to Newsweek the following day, the Indian Army said “it is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive maneuvers, while engagement at the military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.”