The Real Danger in a Quiet Escalation of Tensions Between China and India

By Tim Willasey-Wilsey

Tim Willasey-Wilsey served for over 27 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is now Visiting Professor of War Studies at King's College, London. His first overseas posting was in Angola during the Cold War followed by Central America during the instability of the late 1980s. He was also involved in the transition to majority rule in South Africa and in the Israel/Palestine issue. His late career was spent in Asia including a posting to Pakistan in the mid 1990s.

As the world focuses on the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic, China is exercising its muscle over territorial claims.  As The New York Times reports, “In recent weeks, the Chinese have sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea; swarmed a Malaysian offshore oil rig; menaced Taiwan; and severely tightened their grip on the semiautonomous region of Hong Kong”.

There has also been a marked increase in tensions along the Line of Actual Control between China and India with both sides reinforcing troops by the thousands over the past several weeks. India has so far declined an unsolicited offer on Twitter by US President Donald Trump to mediate the dispute. The increase in tensions presents Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a difficult choice.

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