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China v India: Beijing makes rare move designed to INFURIATE rivals

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Wang travelled to Tibet, which borders the northern region of India, despite the two countries experiencing an escalation in tensions. The foreign minister stated the stability of Tibet is pivotal to China’s overall development during the rare visit. Such is the rarity of the visit, some experts believe it was to remind officials relations with India remain a priority.

Gu Su, a political scientist at Nanjing University, insisted Wang’s visit will send out an important message.

He said: “By paying a visit to the frontier region, Wang’s trip sent out an important message to audiences both at home and abroad that Beijing wants to reiterate its sovereignty over the disputed border areas.”

Wang Dehua, a specialist in India at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, stated China did not want to appear weak in the face of India.

Wang said: “Wang’s trip was clearly aimed at rallying support and crafting policies on how to effectively deal with India, especially when New Delhi is still wavering between China and the US.

“While China clearly does not want to go to war with India, we nonetheless have to be fully prepared for all sorts of scenarios and that’s what Wang probably has done in Tibet.”

His visit comes after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to increase the country’s military.

During a speech celebrating India’s independence, Mr Modi promised to build a 1.4 million-strong army to defend the country’s sovereignty.

Although the region is itself an autonomous entity within China, it still remains a branch of Beijing’s Communist Party.

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The region also borders the crucial Jammu and Kashmir region with India.

However, Sun Shihai, an Indian affairs specialist at Sichuan University, said the trip underlined the importance of Tibet in China’s foreign policy.

He said: “Tibet has long been a very sensitive issue for Beijing and we must be very cautious over the use of the Tibet card by India and other foreign governments.”

Jammu and Kashmir is also where the Galwan Valley is situated and saw clashes with India in June.

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On June 15, soldiers from both sides were involved in the deadliest skirmish in over 50 years.

An estimated 20 Indian soldiers were killed, while China has not yet revealed the true number of casualties on its own side.

The two sides have looked to build and militarise the Actual Line of Control – the de facto border – in the Galwan Valley.

The attack on June 15, is believed to have been caused due to the completion of a high-altitude road to an Indian air base.

With tensions escalating, India has also imposed sanctions on Chinese companies involved in India infrastructure projects.

Like many other countries around the world, India has also banned 59 Chinese apps amid national security concerns.

Since the June conflict, several talks have been held between the two sides.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said: “The two sides have made positive progress on pushing forward the disengagement of the front-line troops on the western section of the border and easing the border tension.”

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