The United States will take part in a joint military exercise with India, less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the South Asian country’s disputed border with China. The military drills, which will take place at an altitude of 10,000 feet in Auli in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, will focus on high-altitude warfare training according to a senior Indian Army officer with knowledge of the matter. The drills will take place as part of the 18th edition of an annual joint exercise known as “Yudh Abhyas” (War Practice).
Tensions between India and China have been strained since a bloody clash between their soldiers in the Himalayas in June 2020 left at least 20 Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers dead. Tensions have been raised further recently by China building a bridge across the Pangong Tso lake that sits along the border — a move condemned by the Indian government as an “illegal occupation.” During a visit to India this year, US Army’s Pacific Commanding General Charles Flynn described China’s military build-up near the disputed border as “alarming.”
Another major aspect of this broader effort includes exercises and joint training and in 2017, these two annual events are jointly designed to improve interoperability and improve our respective capacities to address a range of regional security challenges.
Line of Actual Control
The Line of Actual Control, the loosely defined, de facto border between India and China, emerged as a development of the Sino-Indian border conflict of 1962, which was caused by long-running historical territorial disputes. Its precise border location can be difficult to pin down, and tensions between China and India continue over the exact point of where one nation ends and the other begins.
Military provocations between India and China would have grave consequences. Both have nuclear weapons. Border tensions escalated between the two countries after soldiers fought with fists, stones, and nail-studded bamboo poles in the Galwan Valley in June 2020. Though tensions have since eased, both sides maintain large troop presences along the border region, raising the risk of potential miscalculation in any sudden clashes.