New Delhi: The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, in the report submitted on December 1, described the nearly eight-month-long India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the ‘most severe border crisis in decades’
The report states, “Beijing ramped up its multiyear coercion campaign against its neighbors, provoking military or paramilitary standoffs with countries from Japan to India and much of Southeast Asia. Shortly after China’s defense minister urged Beijing to use military force to stabilize its periphery, a violent clash on the China-India border in June led to the first loss of life between the two countries since 1975.”
It further reports, “China provoked confrontations with countries around its periphery, including a violent incident on the China-India border that resulted in the first fatal exchange between the two countries in 45 years.”
“In 2020, Sino-Indian relations suffered their worst year in de- cades. In June, Chinese and Indian soldiers engaged in a deadly clash on their border, the first confrontation since 1975 that resulted in the loss of life on either side. Shortly after the skirmish, New Delhi announced plans to ban 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, including TikTok, a major Chinese video-sharing and social media app that counted India as its largest overseas market. In September, India banned 118 additional Chinese apps, arguing they were “hostile to national security,” the report highlighted.
The report further stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated calls in New Delhi to limit India’s economic dependence on China. As the virus spread across India, in April New Delhi announced a $394 million plan to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients domestically rather than import them from China.289 In June, the Indian government announced restrictions on Indian state-run companies working with Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and ZTE for any new 4G mobile networks.290 Indian officials also reportedly warned In- Indian telecoms operators against working with Chinese companies in the rollout of new 5G networks. In August, New Delhi barred Indian state-owned enterprises from using Chinese tankers to ship crude oil and petroleum products and has sought to partner with Japan and Australia to establish a “supply chain resilience initiative” likely aimed at limiting their economic dependence on China. Even before the pandemic, in October 2019 the Indian government made moves to restrict academic collaboration with Chinese institutions, requiring universities to obtain approval from two separate Indian ministries before entering into academic cooperation agreements with Chinese institutions.”
The report also revealed shocking details of the China plan in Galwan Valley. It stated that in June 2020, the PLA and Indian troops engaged in a massive physical brawl in the Galwan Valley, located in the far-western La- Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating the two countries.The clash, which followed a series of standoffs beginning in early May along with multiple sectors of the LAC, led to at least 20 Indian deaths and an unconfirmed number of Chinese casualties, the first time since 1975 that lives were lost in fighting between the two sides. Some evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the incident, potentially including the possibility for fatalities. For instance, several weeks prior to the clash Defense Minister Wei made his statement encouraging Beijing to “use fighting to promote stability.”
Just over two weeks before the incident, in another potential indication of Chinese leaders signaling their intent to escalate tensions, an editorial in China’s state-owned tabloid Global Times warned that India would suffer a “devastating blow” to its trade and economic ties with China if it got “involved in the U.S.-China rivalry.”
Satellite images depicted a large Chinese buildup in the Galwan Valley, including potentially 1,000 PLA soldiers, the week before the deadly skirmish. China and India have engaged in multiple physical clashes along their border for decades, but since General Secretary Xi assumed power in 2012 the two countries have seen five major altercations along their border. The exact motivations behind the Chinese government’s provocative behavior on the LAC this year remain unclear. The proximate cause of the clash appeared to be India’s construction of a strategic access road to support troops stationed along the LAC. China has also built extensive infrastructure along the LAC in recent years.299 In the aftermath of the clash, Beijing as- asserted sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley, a new claim and significant change to the territorial status quo, revealed the report.2020_Annual_Report_to_Congress