By Vedika Sud, Barbara Starr, Sahar Akbarzai and Kathleen Magramo, CNN
The United States is to take part in a joint military exercise with India within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the South Asian country’s disputed border with China.
The military exercises will take place in mid-October at an altitude of 10,000ft in Auli in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and will focus on high altitude warfare training, according to a senior Indian army officer. knowing the subject.
Auli lies about 95 kilometers from the Line of Actual Control (LAC), an inhospitable terrain where the disputed border between India and China is roughly demarcated.
The exercises will take place as part of the 18th edition of an annual joint exercise known as “Yudh Abhyas” – or “War Practice”.
Relations 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 soldiers and four Chinese soldiers dead.
Tensions have been further heightened recently by China’s construction of a bridge over Pangong Tso Lake which lies along the border – a move condemned by the Indian government as an “illegal occupation”.
During a visit to India this year, US Army Pacific Commander General Charles Flynn described China’s military buildup near the disputed border as “alarming”.
Asked about the joint exercises, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense told CNN that the partnership with India was “one of the most important elements of our shared vision of a free and opened”.
“An important component of this larger effort includes exercises and training events and Yudh Abhyas is one of those annual bilateral exercises designed to improve interoperability and improve our respective capabilities to meet a range of regional security challenges” , said the spokesperson.
Actual control line
The Line of Actual Control, the loosely defined de facto border between India and China, grew out of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war, itself sparked by long-standing historical territorial disagreements.
Its precise location can be unclear, and there is always a dispute between China and India as to where one country ends and the other begins.
Any military provocation between India and China could have serious consequences. Both have nuclear weapons.
Border tensions escalated between the two countries after soldiers fought with fists, stones and studded bamboo poles in a bloody scuffle that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley , near Aksai Chin, an area controlled by China but claimed by both countries.
Although tensions have since subsided, both sides maintain a large troop presence in the border region, which increases the risk of potential miscalculations in the event of sudden and unexpected clashes.
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