WW3: China and India tensions ‘volatile’ – Fears grow over nuclear security after clash

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Chinese and Indian officials have continued to exchange a war of words following the brutal dispute at the border last week which left more than 50 soldiers dead. At the site of the bloody battle in Galwan Valley, Chinese authorities have since added new military structures on what Indian officials have called its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border.

The use of camouflaged tents and a new camp with walls and barricades are thought to be among the new additions to strengthen China’s claim to the territory.

Dr Jack Holland, Professor of International Relations and Security at the University of Leeds, has warned the breakdown in relations between China and India could undermine global nuclear security.

The foreign policy expert has highlighted the “key relationship” Beijing and India has in maintaining peace in relation to nuclear weapons and insisted the current situation remains “very volatile”.

On the threat of more violence, Dr Holland told Express.co.uk: “Yes, there is a risk although both sides will obviously be keen to avoid significant escalation.

“This is a key relationship for the world’s nuclear security and this part of the border remains a very volatile space due to the politics, geography and history of the region.”

According to the Arms Control Association China has amassed a total of 290 nuclear warheads with India having an arsenal of 130-140 plutonium-based nuclear weapons.

China, unlike India, has signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which limits the ability to develop nuclear weapons and has since put further limitations on ballistic missiles.

On June 15, Indian and Chinese troops brawled without firearms for several hours at the Himalayan border.

In the horrific clashes hundreds soldiers were involved and clubbed each other to death using stones, sticks with nail rods – leaving 20 Indian soldiers for dead and killing at least 40 other Chinese personnel.

Military sources compared the clashes to a brutal ‘Game of Thrones’ style combat.

Dr Holland added: “After the event, I spoke with some military contacts.

“They described what had taken place as two nuclear superpowers whose armies have engaged in ‘Game of Thrones’ style combat – really horrific violence that we simply are not accustomed to seeing in modern inter-state conflict.

“So de-escalation efforts will be vital and that is has been reflected in the words of India’s leaders, in particular.”

India’s foreign ministry has maintained China is at fault for the conflict – something Beijing denies.

Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava has accused China of breaking the 1993 treaty which dictates that both sides will maintain limited border deployment.

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On Thursday, he told a press briefing: “At the heart of the matter is that since early May the Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC.

“This is not in accordance with the provisions of our various bilateral agreements.”

Chinese officials reject this and blame India for the deadliest clash between the two nations in five decades.

China and India last engaged in a brief war over the border in 1962 resulting in more than 2,000 deaths.

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