The new India-China Tawang crisis: Where, why, and what now

Source: The post is based on the article “The new India-China Tawang crisis: Where, why, and what now” published in Indian Express on 14th December 2022

What is the News?

Tensions are running high between India and China once again after the recent clashes between the troops of both armies at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Yangtse area of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

What has happened between India and China?
India - China
Source: Indian Express

The Defence Minister told Lok Sabha that the Chinese troops carried out an incursion across the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh and attempted to unilaterally change the status quo.

Indian troops resisted this attempt by China “with firmness” and there was a scuffle in this faceoff. 

Some soldiers on both sides sustained some injuries in the clash but no Indian soldier had been killed or had been seriously wounded.

Subsequently, the local commander of the Army held a flag meeting with his Chinese counterpart where the Chinese side was asked to maintain peace on the border. The matter has been raised with the Chinese side at the diplomatic level as well.

Why is Tawang important for China?

Tawang is strategically and culturally significant to China.

Cultural importance: Tawang houses the Tawang monastery, which is the second largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world only after the Potala Palace.

– Moreover, the Tawang monastery is where the present Dalai Lama stayed for weeks after escaping China in 1959. 

– Hence, from China’s perspective, it becomes an important site in the history of Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule. If Tibet were to rise up against China, Tawang would emerge as an important centre of resistance.

Strategic Importance: Tawang holds tactical importance for China. The town provides a strategic entry into India’s northeastern region.

– To the north of Tawang lies the important Bum La Pass, which is a border pass between India’s Tawang district and the Chinese-occupied Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Incidentally, it was this pass that the Chinese troops used to invade India in 1962.

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