India-China standoff: A timeline of skirmishes between the two neighbours

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Jun 24, 2020, 05:16 AM IST


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The India China border -- one of the longest inter-state borders in the world -- has been ill-famous for an ugly number of standoffs between the two countries.

China and India are engaged in the most serious military standoff on their disputed border since 2017, with soldiers in the remote Ladakh region accusing each other of encroachment.

The India China border -- one of the longest inter-state borders in the world -- has been ill-famous for an ugly number of standoffs between the two countries.

The origin of the conflict dates back to the year 1914, when representatives of China, Tibet and Britain gathered in Shimla.

They wanted to settle the borders between China and British India, but Beijing refused to sign the deal -- because that would have allowed Tibet to be an autonomous region.

Tibet and Britain eventually signed the deal, and the 890 kilometer-long McMahon line was established.

This line became the legal border between India and China.

Then, in 1962, Independant India, led by Jawahar Lal Nehru, and China, led by Mao Zedong, were tussling over the border.

India's move to grant asylum to Dalai Lama had then not gone down too well with China.

The neighbouring country also has its eyes on Aksai Chin, as it is integral for connecting Tibet to Xinjiang.

Consequently, a war broke out between the two countries on October 20, 1962.

Chinese troops crossed the McMahon line and took up positions in the Indian territory.

They captured Rezang La in the west, and Tawang in the east.

The war lasted for about a month, India lost over 1,000 men. As many as 2,000 others were taken prisoners of war.

India also lost 14,500 square miles of territory.

China revealed the number of casualties on its side years later. It claimed it lost around 800 men.

A ceasefire was then signed on November 20, 1962.

This war changed it all for the two nations. 

This war scarred the ties between the world's two most populous nations, and changed India's perception of China forever.

New Delhi realised that Beijing cannot be trusted, and the psychological wounds of the war resurfaced repeatedly in the years that followed.

In 1967 in Sikkim, Indian and Chinese troops found themselves -- yet again -- eyeball to eyeball. India was constructing a fence at Nathu La, and the Chinese were unhappy.

A scuffle broke out, and what began with stone pelting resulted in the Chinese troops opening fire.

In September 1967, 88 Indian soldiers were killed in action and the Chinese side lost 300 men.

The next month the two sides engaged in a duel in Cho La, Sikkim.

In 1986, India granted statehood to Arunachal Pradesh -- much to the chagrin of China.

Sumdorong Chu then became a flashpoint, following which the Chinese crossed the LAC. They built permanent structures, including a helipad.

India moved troops to the border. The build-up was eerily similar to 1962, but neither India nor China wanted a war.

So China is forced to back off a year later.

In September 2014, Chinese troops deployed heavy machinery in Demchok. They want to build a road inside the Indian territory.

India retaliated by camping opposite the PLA. The stand-off coincided with President Xi Jinping's three-day india visit.

India raised the issue with Xi, following which the Chinese troops withdrew after a 20-day stand-off.

In 2017, Chinese troops tried to construct a road near the Doklam plateau. But the territory belongs to Bhutan and is close to an Indian highway.

Indian troops stepped in to prevent the construction. New Delhi also warned Beijing that the construction would impact the status quo.

The Doklam trijunction, hence, became the spot for a 72-day standoff.

China was forced to remove its troops weeks of talks later.

The current standoff is the worst since 1967.

Pangong Tso is a flashpoint and so is the Galwan Valley.

There are two other unresolved disputes -- one is Aksai Chin and the second is Arunachal Pradesh.

Aksai Chin is an indian territory that is currently under the control of China. The land grab -- 40,000 square kilometres -- lies in the eastern flank.

China also has its eyes on 92,000 square kilometres of Arunachal Pradesh.