India and China, the two most populous nations in the world and both of which have nuclear warheads, are at loggerheads over a territorial dispute in the eastern region of Ladakh, which borders the two countries.
“I would say the situation is stable and under control, but unpredictable,” Indian Army Chief of Staff General Manoj Pande told reporters on Thursday. “We have adequate forces. We have adequate reserves in each of our sectors to be able to deal effectively with any situation or eventuality.”
As reported by The Associated Press, Pande made his comments after a nearly two-and-a-half-year standoff between tens of thousands of troops from the two countries.
The Indian army chief said the countries were still talking at diplomatic and military levels, but the Indian army was maintaining a high level of readiness.
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The two sides had a serious border clash in 2020 when 20 Indian soldiers were killed and four Chinese soldiers died as a result of the skirmish.
India claims that China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current confrontation is taking place.
“How dangerous this becomes depends on Beijing. India is currently in a defensive posture, but if China attacks again and looks weak, India could push its advantage,” Cleo Paskal, nonresident senior fellow at the Foundation for the defense of democracies focusing on the Indo-Pacific region, told Fox News Digital.
She continued: “Furthermore, this area could come into play during a crisis in Taiwan. It should be remembered that China’s 1962 attack on India coincided almost exactly with the Cuban Missile Crisis. .”
“At the same time, China’s attack is also likely to have elements of asymmetric warfare. After the 2020 stalemate, the conflict has moved into less obvious arenas. India has banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat, then there was a cyberattack on Mumbai’s power grid which was allegedly traced to China,” Paskal added.
India says any unilateral change to the border status quo by Beijing is unacceptable.
The Line of Actual Control separates Chinese and Indian territories from Ladakh in the west to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a deadly border war in 1962.
In December, Fox News Digital reported on a violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the territories, resulting in injuries on both sides.
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At the time of the December clash, a Chinese military spokesman accused India of illegally blocking border guards patrolling on the Beijing side of the Line of Effective Control.
“We call on the Indian side to strictly control and restrict frontline troops and work with China to maintain peace and tranquility on the border,” the spokesperson told The Associated Press.
Indian expert Siddhartha Dubey, adjunct professor of journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois, told Fox News Digital: ‘It’s an incredibly expensive proposition to keep armies on a freezing frontier on heightened alert. , especially for India, which has fewer resources than China.”
He added that the situation is “far from stable. It’s an unpredictable situation. … There are thousands of armed soldiers and considerable air power facing each other.”
“China took territory two and a half years ago, and negotiations gave India nothing. It’s a border dispute drawn by a departing colonial power, Britain, which has made bad job,” Dubey said.
Pande also added that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict had impacted the supply of spare parts for the Indian army, but did not provide further details. He also talked about India’s dependence on equipment from these countries.
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“The sustenance of these weapons systems – equipment in terms of spare parts, in terms of ammunition – is a problem that we have solved,” the Indian military leader said.
Experts say up to 60% of India’s defense equipment comes from Russia, and New Delhi finds itself at an impasse amid the standoff with China over a territorial dispute.
The Times of India newspaper reported on Thursday that India was having trouble bringing back one of its diesel-powered submarines after a major refit in Russia, which has been hit by sanctions over war in Ukraine.
India is expected to soon overtake China’s population, according to a new United Nations report. India will replace China’s population by April and reach almost 1.7 billion people by 2050, as opposed to China’s projected population of 1.31 billion.
According to reports, China has 350 nuclear warheads, while India, the world’s largest democracy, has 160 nuclear warheads.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.