For over three months, Chinese and Indian troops have been engaged in a standoff with each other in Galwan Valley, dangerously close to the Line of Actual Control, which acts as a formal separation line between the two nations’ regions and a point of contention regarding opposing territorial claims. According to the Eurasian Times, “To India’s astonishment, Beijing has reportedly claimed the entire Galwan Valley, which even exceeds the Chinese territorial claims of 1962.”
Just this week, following a letter addressed to Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu from the House Caucus on India-Americans, the House of Representatives ratified an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which condemns acts of Chinese aggression in areas such as Galwan Valley, the South China Sea, and the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. According to The Times of India:
“The amendment said that in the months leading up to June 15, along the Line of Actual Control, China reportedly amassed 5,000 soldiers; and is believed to have crossed into previously disputed territory considered to be settled as part of India under the 1962 truce. China and India have reached an agreement to de-escalate and disengage along the Line of Actual Control, the Chabot amendment said, adding that on June 15, at least 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers were killed in skirmishes following a weeks-long standoff in Eastern Ladakh, which is the defacto border between the two countries.”
China’s aggression regarding land ownership disputes has been a major concern to South Asian countries, and even the United States, as the US considers some of these nations, especially India, to be major partners. Many feel China has taken advantage of the world’s undivided attention on COVID-19 by trying to swiftly and covertly seize territory- by constructing military bases on islands claimed by other South Asian nations, interrupting commercial fishing businesses imperative to nations such as Vietnam and the Philippines, and threatening its relationship with Japan over the much disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
Now, the United States is taking a direct approach to condemn Chinese land assertiveness and disregard for boundaries, lest violent confrontation- such as that which occurred near the Line of Actual Control- increasingly becomes China’s main tactic in territorial expansion.