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China-India news: Nuclear-armed neighbours brace for winter hostilities | World | News

Despite multiple rounds of high-level military talks aimed at brokering a deal to de-escalate the situation, both countries remain locked in a bitter dispute. In the latest escalation of the ongoing conflict, Indian soldiers near the Pangong Tso Lake in the Ladakh Himalayas crossed the border into Chinese-controlled territory.

China’s state media, the Global Times, commented on media reports suggesting Indian troops could fire on Chinese soldiers if they come too close.

The newspaper likened India to a coward in a lion’s skin but backed negotiations to solve the dispute.

Both sides had favoured talks to help tensions boil down in May but things took a turn for the worse when the two countries suffered heavy losses in a brutal border clash on June 15.

India mourned the loss of 20 men, including a colonel, while 43 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in the skirmish in the Ladakh region.

China’s state media weighed in on the situation in an article published on September 23, headlined “India’s stubborn stance on obstacle to China-India frontline disengagement”.

The state-affiliated publication Global Times argued that the Indians were behaving in an unreasonable manner and this had led to peace talks being stymied.

Indian strategists have suggested that China does not have any willingness to confront its neighbour amid strategic pressure from the United States.

READ MORE: China knows India is ‘problematic neighbour’ but does NOT want war

China recently showed signs of preparing for an escalation in border tensions with India after it emerged PLA soldiers have been given additional equipment.

Last week it emerged troops had been given new military clothing with advanced design and technology for better and efficient border management.

The patrol equipment includes cold-proof hoods, warm training clothes, lightweight cold-proof warm training coats, cotton vests and cold-proof outer gloves, among others.

The additional clothing will meet PLA soldiers’ requirements at high altitudes and freezing temperatures in Ladakh.

As winter approaches, India is also readying itself for a possible escalation.

India gained independence in 1947 and three years later the new government in Beijing began asserting its claims over the disputed border territory.

During the 1950s China began a massive building project which would see roads spring up on the uninhabited Aksai Chin Plateau to connect its restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.

India objected to the move, claiming Aksai Chin as part of Ladakh, itself belonging to the former principality of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.

In a bid to undermine its neighbour, China turned to Pakistan to strengthen its relations and backed it on the contentious issue of Kashmir.

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