After over the weekend international reports said that multiple hundreds, or up to 1,000 Chinese troops have crossed into India following prior small-scale skirmishes weeks ago involving dozens of Indian and Chinese soldiers near a remote but strategically important mountain pass near Tibet, Indian media is now reporting that up to five to ten thousand PLA troops have now moved into Ladakh’s disputed Galwan river area.
Some Indian media reports have suggested multiple thousands, while a new Business Standard India report now claims up to 10,000 Chinese soldiers inside India occupying the Galwan Valley while digging into fortified positions.
Though such figures remain unconfirmed and very likely inflated, it's clear that Indian authorities are watching with growing alarm what they view as an 'invasion' of their sovereign territory.
Per the reports, a larger conflict between the two nuclear armed powers is on the horizon:
“The most worrying situation is in the Galwan valley, where the PLA has crossed China’s own claim line (which Beijing had stated was the border with India) and breached 3-4 kilometers into Indian territory. PLA troops are digging defenses to equip themselves to face any Indian attack.”
Sporadic but fierce clashes have occurred going back to the 1960's along the shared 2,100 mile border, which often involves literal fist-fights among opposing troops and border patrol guards.
A prior 2017 incident involving Indian soldiers crossing into Bhutan ostensibly to thwart a Chinese road construction project extending into the Galwan Valley resulted in a tense standoff and direct two-month long negotiations.
A report days ago in Foreign Policy warns of the potential for major war:
Indeed, given that Beijing sees New Delhi as the principal impediment to the realization of its ambitions to dominate Asia, a more violent clash along the volatile, poorly demarcated Sino-Indian border is highly likely. Unless China emerges as the dominant power in South Asia (and the Indian Ocean), China is likely to remain a regional power in East Asia. Put another way, China’s quest for pan-Asian dominance will intensify the ongoing Sino-Indian rivalry as India itself is seeking primacy—but not hegemony—in southern Asia.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed Indian media reports say large Indian patrol units have begun building up in opposition to the recent PLA movements and provocations.
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A brief review of the escalating situation: