A Tense History
Over the years, relations between India and China have not exactly been cordial. After all, the two countries have had three military conflicts in the last 60 years. Considering the sizable populations and distinct cultures of the two Asian giants, as well as their proximity, it may come as no surprise that the two have rarely hit it off. Not to mention, both possess nuclear weapons, and China’s support of Pakistan, India’s longtime enemy, doesn’t help.
Disputed Borders between Bhutan and China
If you take a quick glance at Google Maps, you’ll notice dotted line borders between China and India in several places, signifying disputed borders. However, the most recent source of tensions between the two hasn’t been over their own territory, but that of India’s small ally, Bhutan.
Indian and Chinese conflict in Bhutan rapidly escalated when China attempted to construct a road through disputed Bhutan-Chinese territory. India claims the region is of significant strategic importance as it lies close to the Siliguri corridor, a vulnerable narrow strip of land that serves as India’s only definite connection to its northeastern states. If China infringes on borders near the Siliguri corridor, India worries it may compromise the corridor’s security against China.
China recently accused Indian troops of hindering the construction of their new road. According to the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indian troops have attempted to approach the Chinese road crew and encourage them to end construction. Though no serious conflicts have occurred between the two Asian countries recently, the Chinese-Indian border disputes represent yet another disagreement in the long list of causes that contribute to the continuously declining relationship between India and China.