Battle in the Sky - The Sino-Indian Border Dispute and the Line of Actual Control (LAC)
Established after the Sino-Indian War of 1962 the LAC is a demarcation line between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of India (India). According to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, the LAC is 3448 km long, while other sources state a length of 3380 km. Even though a fragile peace has been negotiated, there have been military stand-offs and sometimes even deadly skirmishes between the two countries (the latest skirmish occurred in December 2022). Besides the already concerning loss of human lifes, international observers fear a full-scale escalation between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Additionally this border dispute has an impact on civilian life too: both the PRC and India are continuously pursuing the goal of strengthening their presence at the border by building military and civilian infrastructures. This does not only involve the creation of settlements, but tourist facilities too. Electricity security plays an important role as well. India is currently building hydropower plants along the LAC for the electrification of remote villages, making the power plants vulnerable targets and subsequently posing a risk for the civilian population.
Lastly, the Sino-Indian border dispute can be understood in a geo-political context as well. The attempts to make India a permanent member of the UNSC go back as far as the Cold War. These attempts were led by the USSR and the USA independently. Even though the Cold War is over, the struggle for relying on India as a powerful ally is an ongoing one. With the PRC expanding its influence, the USA is trying to strengthen its strategic and economic ties with India, in order to create a counterbalance towards the PRC. Yet India’s geo-political connection with Russia is quite strong, as their relations can be traced back to the Cold War era and India still relies on Russian arms.
Given the high stakes and the complexity of the issue, here are some questions that will hopefully be answered during the committee sessions: Is there a way to find a satisfactory solution for both sides, that respects their strategic interests in the region? Experts predict India could become one of the leading economies in the world - should India then have a greater influence in the UNSC?