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Mounting Tensions: A Clash Between Nuclear Behemoths

BY: Aaron Anandji

The history of humanity has been riddled with conflict. War has been ever present since the dawn of society. We have fought over lands and resources. We have slaughtered each other. And passing time saw humanity become increasingly proficient in the art of killing. And then came two massive global conflicts in quick succession: World War 1 and 2. Gassing and aerial bombardments snipped lives almost like a gardener cutting weeds. In the background, disease and famine ate away at what remained in the aftermath of conflicts.

And then came a bang. Windows shattered. People were vaporized. Two cities were erased in early August, 1945. In the words of President Harry Truman, the bomb was “a harnessing of the basic power of the universe.”

Peace quickly enveloped a war-torn world. And save minor territorial disputes in their respective spheres of influence, the world powers did not engage in direct, full-scale war. The threat of nuclear weapons became an ever-present fact in modern diplomacy.

But this week, an era of peace is in jeopardy. Two behemoths have butted heads. India and China confronted each other in the Galwan Valley of the Ladakh region, a disputed territory between these two superpowers. 20 Indian soldiers perished, and 35 Chinese combatants have been counted among the casualty reports of US intelligence. But this is not the first clash in this region, nor the first confrontation about this issue. Notable disputes happened in 1967, 1975 and 2017. However, what makes this clash different is the current global paradigm. We live in a world wrought with plague. Countries, businesses and people are all struggling. It could be argued that China and India see this as a golden opportunity to flex their muscles, and assert dominance over surrounding nations. Unfortunately, their influence often overlaps. And that leads to conflict.

The LAC, or Line of Actual Control, is the current border in the area. But both countries interpret it differently. And because of the volatility of the terrain’s geography, the line often shifts. Therefore, it is likely that this will not be the last conflict in the area.

“Indian troops said they would not tolerate aggression from China as it was no longer 1962,” he said. “But do they realise that today’s Chinese army is not the one that fought in 1962? China was able to defeat India then and could do so again.” - Beijing Military expert, Zhou Chenming

Both the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, and the Minister of External affairs of India, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, were both outspoken about desiring a detente. But both also issued bold statements, attempting to reaffirm their respective country’s sovereignty in the region.

Any small skirmish, especially one between great powers, could end up triggering another World War. It happened in the Sino-Japanese War. It happened at Pearl Harbour. It happened to Serbia and Austria-Hungary. I think it's time the World starts to once again pay attention to conflicts like these.

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