July 3 : INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi has upped the stakes in its border dispute with China by deploying 50,000 additional troops in the Himalayan region, significantly raising tensions between the world’s two most populous countries.
And experts have warned of the possibility of a conflict erupting accidentally with such large numbers of soldiers concentrated in a relatively small area. Chinese and Indian soldiers slugged it out last year in Ladakh in hand to hand clashes which claimed more than 20 dead – the deadliest encounter since the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
And Ladakh is the region which has seen the biggest increase in Indian troops as a result of the latest deployment, with an extra 20,000 sent to the mountainous region.
In total, Express.co.uk understands India has now committed roughly 200,000 troops to three areas along the border – an increase of more than 40 percent compared with last year.
The move represents a shift in strategy, away from a purely defensive posture towards one of enabling Indian forces to attack and seize territory in China if necessary in a strategy known as “offensive defence”, an insider told Bloomberg.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin today told reporters: “The current situation on the border between China and India is generally stable, and the two sides are negotiating to resolve relevant border issues.
“In this context, the words, deeds and military deployments of relevant military and political leaders should help ease the situation and increase mutual trust between the two sides, not the other way around.”
Nevertheless, DS Hooda, a lieutenant general and former Northern Army commander in India, warned: ”Having so many soldiers on either side is risky when border management protocols have broken down.