World War 3 fears as India lashes out at China on controversial border dispute | World | News

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The 2,100-mile boundary, referred to as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), separates the two territories with an uneasy peace occasionally being disrupted by deadly clashes. In June, 20 Indian soldiers died when a hand-to-hand battle erupted on the steep slopes.

Both sides blame each other for the tension and India yesterday said it did not respect the border’s boundaries.

Anurag Srivastava, an Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, said: “India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side.

“In fact, the two sides had engaged in an exercise to clarify and confirm the LAC up to 2003, but this process could not proceed further as the Chinese side did not show a willingness to pursue it.

“It is the Chinese side which by its attempts to transgress the LAC in various parts of the Western Sector, has tried to unilaterally alter the status quo.”

A statement from India’s army added: “At no stage has the Indian army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing.”

India’s furious outburst came after China blamed India for tensions on the border.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “Ever since this year, the Indian Army has continued to arrive and illegally cross the border, unilaterally expanding the scope of the Line of Actual Control.

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It will go some way to bringing India on par with China, which has a network of roads and helipads on its side of the border.

June’s fighting – the first bloodshed in decades – was followed this month by claims from China of Indian soldiers firing “provocative” warning shots at patrols.

India and China’s dispute continued after the 1962 Sino-Indian War ended with an uneasy truce but China has said it abides by the line as proposed by Premier Zhou Enlai to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a letter dated November 7, 1959.

Recent casualties were the first instance in decades of fighting at 14,000 feet high in the Himalayas turning violently nasty.

Fears of increased military action persist as the dispute begins to intensify once again as the Indian Army now occupies six new heights along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh in what is seen as a major breakthrough.

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