Washington is attempting to enlist allies against Beijing as part of its strategy to encircle China in the Asia-Pacific region. India is one such potential partner. Now the Indian military has announced that they want to hold joint exercises with the United States near the disputed border with China.
The US and Indian military will hold joint drills in October in the Himalayas, less than 100 kilometers from the disputed India-China border, reports CNN. The location of the military exercises was announced amid rising Taiwan-related tensions between the US and China. In recent years, India and China had also clashed along their mountainous borders.
The drills will be held near the city of Auli in India’s Uttarakhand state in mid-October, an Indian army officer told Saturday CNN. Auli is located on the southern slopes of the Himalayas and exercises will focus on warfare at an altitude of 3,000 meters.
General Charles Flynn, the US Army Pacific commander, told reporters in June that the drills would involve both US and Indian air force units and that they would act as a “counterbalance” and “deterrent” to China’s activities along the disputed border would serve. The upcoming Himalayan exercises are part of an annual US-India exercise held in Alaska last year.
Auli is also approximately 95 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control, a loosely defined border separating India and China. Both sides lay claim to the territory across this line, which has served as the de facto border between the two countries since the end of the 1962 Sino-India Border War.
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In 2020, fighting broke out along this line after China opposed building a road through territory claimed by India. India said it lost around 20 soldiers in the fighting, while China claimed four.
Tensions along the border line have been running high since then, and India in May accused China of building a bridge in an area it considers “illegally occupied”.
US-China relations have also deteriorated significantly following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week. Beijing responded to the visit with large-scale military exercises, halting imports from Taiwan, imposing sanctions on Pelosi and her family, and severing diplomatic ties with Washington in a number of key areas.
With Chinese military drills continuing through the weekend, White House national security official John Kirby announced Thursday that the U.S. will conduct “air and sea crossings” through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks, with the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group will remain stationed in the region.
While both sides are flexing their military muscles, reported political on Friday that Chinese defense officials are ignoring calls from their US counterparts.
more on the subject – Media report: China ignores Pentagon calls