Washington, April 15 : China-India border tensions remain high despite some force pullbacks this year, the US intelligence community has told Congress.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its latest annual threat assessment report to the US Congress said, “China-India border tensions remain high, despite some force pullbacks this year.” It said that since May 2020 when Chinese Army pushed back Indian Army in the contested Pangong Lake area is the most serious escalation in decades and led to the first lethal border clash between the two countries since 1975.
“As of mid-February, after multiple rounds of talks, both sides were pulling back forces and equipment from some sites along the disputed border,” it added.
The border standoff between the armies of India and China erupted on May 5, 2020 following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry. As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong Lake in February in line with an agreement on disengagement.
The report claimed that Beijing seeks to use coordinated, whole-of-government tools to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbours to acquiesce to its preferences. It said that Beijing would continue to promote the multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand its economic, political and military presence abroad.
The BRI is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President, Xi Jinping when he came into power in 2013. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.