On Monday, September 4th, India initiated significant military maneuvers along its Himalayan border, particularly in the contentious region shared with China. These maneuvers are set to continue during the G20 Summit scheduled for September 9th and 10th in New Delhi, an event conspicuously missing the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The eleven-day military operations along the Himalayan border are described by an Indian defense official, speaking anonymously due to unauthorized press disclosure, as an “annual training exercise” in the northern border areas adjacent to Pakistan and China.
Tensions between these two Asian powerhouses have simmered since a high-altitude clash in June 2020, resulting in the loss of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers. In late August, fresh tensions arose after Beijing released a map laying claim to territories that New Delhi asserts belong to India. Subsequently, tens of thousands of troops have amassed on either side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border separating India and China, but one that lacks a clear demarcation.
In August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in a rare face-to-face meeting during the BRICS summit, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. However, President Xi Jinping will be conspicuously absent from the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9th and 10th, as confirmed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, September 4th.
On India’s part, the Modi government has invested billions of dollars in connectivity projects on its side of the border, to bolster civilian presence and establish new paramilitary units. India is also actively seeking to foster closer ties with Western nations, including members of the Quad alliance, which includes the United States, Japan, and Australia, and is designed to counterbalance China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region.