Indian police reportedly thwarted a repeated attempt by Chinese workers to build a road on the Indian side of the China-India international boundary months after the two rivaling nations de-escalated a standoff at the Doklam region that sits along their border.
The Indian Express reports:
While the Chinese workers were told to return to their side of the LAC [line of actual control], their road construction equipment was seized. Sources, however, denied a Doklam-like eyeball-to-eyeball face-off between the two sides at the construction site on the LAC, and said there was no direct contact between Indian and Chinese soldiers during the incident.
[Unnamed] sources in [India’s] Arunachal Pradesh told The Indian Express that the incident occurred on December 26, when a Chinese civilian track construction party, unaccompanied by any soldiers, crossed into the Indian side of the LAC, near Bishing in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh.
The incident comes less than a month after China allegedly beefed up its military presence near Doklam, which sits along the China-India border, known as the LAC.
At the time, Beijing denied any knowledge or involvement in the attempt by Chinese troops to enter Indian territory.
Tensions between the two rivals escalated after Indian troops “physically prevented” China from stretching the road.
In October of last year, news reports surfaced that about 1,000 Chinese troops had remained in the Doklam region.
Unnamed sources told the Indian Express that residents of the area spotted the Chinese construction workers and informed the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
Joined by the Indian army, the ITBP urged the Chinese workers to return to their side of the border.
“The area has been barricaded, and is being jointly manned by the ITBP and Army,” notes the Express.
Last year “was an extremely difficult year for China-India relations. With military tensions close to their disputed border, increasing competition in their neighborhood, and growing strategic mistrust, Beijing and New Delhi’s relations reached a nadir in 2017,” reports the Diplomat.
“Happily, the damage 2017 has inflicted on the relationship between the two Asian giants is not irreparable,” it adds. “Nevertheless, it reflects larger trends and indicates that Sino-Indian relations increasingly stand at a crossroads, with growing likelihood that they could go in the wrong direction.”
Last month, foreign ministers from Russia, China, and India reportedly agreed on a comprehensive approach to combating terrorism.
Although both India and China face a growing Islamic terrorist threat stemming from neighboring Pakistan, Beijing continues to provide economic and military support to Islamabad.
China and its ally Pakistan consider India to be their regional enemy.