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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

Old 8th Jun 2020, 07:49
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/s...ndia-g9fl3rkh0

Stand-off in Himalayas as Chinese troops enter India

India and China have tried to defuse a stand-off between thousands of troops high in the Himalayas that has threatened to escalate into the most serious confrontation between the rivals for decades.

Chinese forces crossed the 2,500-mile border with India at several points and set up camp after soldiers from both sides traded blows and pelted each other with stones a month ago.

In parts of Ladakh, more than 4,300m above sea level, thousands of Chinese troops are understood to have encroached up to four kilometres into Indian territory and dug in to repel counterattacks.

India has quickly deployed thousands of its troops to meet the incursion. Helicopters have faced off, boats have chased each other on Pangong Lake and fighter jets have flown sorties.

It is feared that a miscalculation by either side could tip the two most populous nations, both nuclear powers, into open conflict. Skirmishes between patrols along the unmarked Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, which forms the de facto border, are common but this time Chinese troops have occupied land not previously disputed.

After a meeting between Indian and Chinese commanders, Delhi said that both sides had agreed to “peacefully resolve” the confrontations......
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Old 8th Jun 2020, 08:12
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Around mid century India will be the world's biggest nation and surpass China. Therefore these conflicts are relevant to the entire world. They could easily form some WW3 scenario.
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Old 8th Jun 2020, 09:07
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This had been going on since 1963. That year the British Government sent out two flights of Javelins to assist the Indian Air Force with all weather fighter cover. Valiants of 90 and 214 Squadrons tanked them out and we had a week in a Hotel on Juhu beach in Bombay.
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Old 8th Jun 2020, 10:58
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Distractions from domestic problems come to mind.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 12:15
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...der-with-china

India says soldiers killed on disputed Himalayan border with China

Three members of India’s armed forces have been killed in a “violent face-off” with Chinese soldiers on their disputed Himalayan border, the Indian army has said in a statement.

The deaths are the first loss of life in the border area in at least 45 years, and come amid a renewed dispute between the two countries in recent weeks. Indian and Chinese soldiers, who often do not carry weapons in the area to avoid escalating conflicts, have brawled, detained each other and deployed forces and equipment in the western Himalayas in recent weeks.

“During the de-escalation process under way in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday [Monday] night with casualties on both sides,” the Indian army said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon Delhi-time. “The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers.” It said “senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation”.

It was unclear whether shots had been fired or if the men were killed in hand-to-hand combat.

The Chinese military suffered casualties too, according to a tweet by the editor-in-chief of China’s state-run Global Times newspaper. “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash,” Hu Xijin wrote. He did not give further details.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 18:06
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-53061476

Kashmir clash: 20 Indian troops killed in fighting with Chinese forces

At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese forces in Ladakh in the disputed Kashmir region, Indian officials say. The incident follows rising tensions, and is the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years.

The Indian army initially said three of its soldiers had been killed, adding that both sides suffered casualties. But later on Tuesday, officials a number of critically injured soldiers had died of their wounds.

India's external affairs ministry accused China of breaking an agreement struck the previous week to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.......
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 18:09
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So the militaries of two nuclear-armed powers are holding mass nighttime brawls on remote Himalayan ridgelines....

What could possibly go wrong?
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Old 17th Jun 2020, 10:24
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What is astonishing is that the Agreement - which has never been broken" forbids the use of guns within 2 km of the LOC". So of course, humanity finds another way. I'm investing in long bows ..............

I took a look on Google Earth at the Garwan Valley - God - it looks like a dreadful spot of absolutely no value whatsoever.
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Old 17th Jun 2020, 15:23
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The Navy has 3 carriers in the Pacific for the first time in years, and it's being se

https://www.businessinsider.com/3-na...o-china-2020-6

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in nearly three years, three American aircraft carriers are patrolling the Indo-Pacific waters, a massive show of naval force in a region roiled by spiking tensions between the US and China and a sign that the Navy has bounced back from the worst days of the coronavirus outbreak.

The unusual simultaneous appearance of the three warships, accompanied by Navy cruisers, destroyers, fighter jets and other aircraft, comes as the US escalates criticism of Beijing's response to

the coronavirus outbreak, its moves to impose greater control over Hong Kong and its campaign to militarize human-made islands in the South China Sea.

"There have been some indications in Chinese writings that the United States was hit hard by COVID-19, that military preparedness was low, so perhaps there is an effort by the United States to signal China that it should not miscalculate," said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The Chinese will definitely portray this as an example of US provocations, and as evidence that the US is a source of instability in the region."

President Donald Trump, criticized for his own handling of the coronavirus outbreak, has condemned China for what he sees as a failure to adequately warn the world about the COVID-19 threat. The administration has also moved to ban Chinese graduate students and researchers with links to the People's Liberation Army or other security services from the United States.


The convergence of three carrier strike groups in the region is unusual because of the limited number of carriers and the fact that they are often cycling through repair schedules, port visits, training or deployments to other parts of the world. This week, however, Navy commanders said they were able to take advantage of the timing, particularly during this period of great power competition with China.

The US national defense strategy cites China as a top security concern, and Pentagon leaders have been working to shift more resources and military assets to the region to battle what they see is Beijing's growing economic influence and military might.


The ability to be present in a strong way is part of the competition. And as I always tell my guys here, you've got to be present to win when you're competing," said Rear Adm. Stephen Koehler, director of operations at Indo-Pacific Command. "Carriers and carrier strike groups writ large are phenomenal symbols of American naval power. I really am pretty fired up that we've got three of them at the moment."

Speaking to The Associated Press from his office in Hawaii, Koehler said China is slowly and methodically building up military outposts in the South China Sea, putting missile and electronic warfare systems on them. The US and other allies and partners in the region have beefed up operations near the human-made islands to try to blunt China's development, but none of that has appeared to work.

Koehler said that most recently China deployed aircraft to Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands and is now operating them out of there.


On Thursday, the strike group warships were spread out across the Indo-Pacific. The USS Theodore Roosevelt and its strike group are operating in the Philippine Sea near Guam. The USS Nimitz strike group is in the Pacific off the US West Coast. The USS Ronald Reagan has left port in Japan and is operating in the Philippine Sea south of there.

Navy commanders were quick to point out that dozens of other Navy ships had been operating around the Pacific, but the three strike groups put a bit of an exclamation point on America's commitment to the region and its allies.

The Roosevelt has just returned to duty after spending more than two months sidelined in Guam with a massive COVID-19 outbreak among its crew. And small numbers of sailors on the Nimitz and the Reagan tested positive for the virus, triggering quarantines and extensive new health and safety procedures that had to be instituted before the ships could deploy.

As they deploy, sailors' daily lives on the ships and to some degree their operations at sea have been altered by the virus and the new precautions they must take to ensure the ships remain clear of infection and able to continue operations.


Onboard the Nimitz, Rear Adm. Jim Kirk said there have been no positive cases of the virus on the ship since it set out, and he is confident of all the changes put in place to keep it that way.

On the Nimitz and the other Pacific ships, crew members are screened daily, they wear masks where needed, meal hours have been extended to allow for more social distancing, and specific routes are designated on the ship to prevent sailors from bumping into one another in the narrow passageways and stairs.

"As we head out to stand the watch, the message that I have is that this is the end of the beginning" for the crew, said Kirk, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11. "Now it's time to go about doing our job to the best of our abilities."

Koehler said the ships will continue to work with allies and partners in the region, conducting exercises at sea and patrolling contested regions. One key change, however, will be their ability to stop in foreign ports.

The port visits have been largely curtailed, except to carefully pick up supplies when necessary. Guam has been designated the only safe harbor for port stops in the Pacific so far, and sailors have only limited freedom to go to the pier and cannot travel freely in the city. Navy leaders are looking into establishing other safe havens but haven't approved them yet.

This is, said Koehler, "the new normal." And he said that while it's not likely there will be three carrier strike groups consistently in the Pacific over the long term, "it's something we can do when we want to."
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 10:23
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https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/asia/...cli/index.html

Why conventional wisdom giving China the military edge over India may not be true
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 10:59
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Pivoting towards the west and the ensuring military contacts may be paying off.
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 15:59
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But where would they fight each other? Up in the Himalayas is the only place - and that is god awful country where high tech isn't going to give you a lot of advantages
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 17:22
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Question is whether Pakistan would join in to do the pincer job.

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Old 18th Jun 2020, 18:38
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That imo would be the recipe for nukes to be considered.
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 19:19
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The Pakistan Air Forces experience with the Shenyang J-6 wasn't a success. Rolls Royce were called in to adjust some of the imperial to metric measurements on the engine components in China to save the Chinese loss of face over the frequency of engine problems. It is well known in Pakistan the details of the 're-education' of Muslims in the north west of China so I do not think that they would be that pally in the military and religious sense.
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Old 18th Jun 2020, 20:52
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
I took a look on Google Earth at the Garwan Valley - God - it looks like a dreadful spot of absolutely no value whatsoever.
Any chance it's water?
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 07:35
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https://www.theguardian.com/australi...scott-morrison

Cyber-attack Australia: sophisticated attacks from ‘state-based actor’, PM says
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 15:56
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Originally Posted by WhatsaLizad?
Any chance it's water?
No - loads of water up there - and even more ice.

Looking at the images and reading the propaganda from both sides I suspect the river keeps changing course in a flat river valley with each ice melt. Not sure how they define the LAC but it's probably "along the line of the River Garwan" - which has several separate water courses in parallel in places. So what was the "obvious" border last year isn't this year - and that leads to "you're on our side - move on" and "the hell you say- we've been here for 10 years" and thus downwards.........

Nothing that a half decent treaty couldn't fix (see the Rio Grande as a prime example) but when you have two very large countries both absolutely convinced they are right and both appealing against "cartographic aggression" based on maps drawn by the Brits 100-200 years ago..................
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Old 19th Jun 2020, 16:21
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A56,

Nothing as easy and simple as that.......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_of_Actual_Control



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Old 20th Jun 2020, 08:54
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I've seen map ORAC - quite useful. I spent time at college studying frontiers & boundaries and the Indo- CHina one was a classic example. Lines on maps that bear little relationship to what's on the ground. As I've said have a look at the Galwan River on GE - it a flat bottomed slot in the mountains with permanent glaciers on the ridge tops and in some of the feeder valleys. Almost no vegetation and a dusty wind blown stone plain with a wildly meandering river running down it. The Indians appear to have built a road quite a long ways up the valley on the SW side and there are occasional ragged "hamlets" and the odd military camp. But it is a hellish spot with absolutely no military value whatsoever.

No-one ever went here except for the odd trader or big game hunter - hence things like the "johnson Line"

One thing is for sure - until they both sit down and negotiate with an open mind and then properly delineate and demarcate it it will continue to fester.
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