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India and China's Tense Relationship

Updated: May 6




Despite China and India’s generally calm and cordial relationship, the conflicts in the northern regions of India (along the Chinese border) are not fully understood. As is typical in many nations, border disputes are common - and this is certainly the case with India, who have historically had conflict surrounding borders. Indeed, perhaps the most famous of these is the ongoing dispute with Pakistan, which emerged in 1947 when India gained independence from the UK. Following Mountbatten's declaration of peace and retreat after protracted fighting, the British withdrew, leaving India in a precarious situation. The nation of India finally, and desperately, consented to a split, which led to the establishment of Pakistan.


A dispute over the sovereignty of the border territories between Arunachal Pradesh and the widely separated Aksai Chin was the primary reason for war as a consequence. There is a significant road link that connects the Chinese areas of Tibet and Xinjiang through Aksai Chin, which is claimed by China to be in Xinjiang, and by India to be in Ladakh. Both China and India deem this land to be theirs, and therefore fight for exclusive access to it. 


The main reason for this dispute is the trade routes which connect large states like India and China to isolated countries like Tibet, which are not easily accessible otherwise. But that is not all - if either India or China gains full access to this territory, it could open the door to more alliances and the dependence of weaker countries in the area, offering much benefit to these powerful countries. This conflict, though relatively hidden from the rest of the world, could expand and could cause other countries to take arms in the region - all contributing to a much bigger problem.


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