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Indian-China Border Clash in Tawang

Dec 15, 2022


Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here. Read to know more about Indian-China Border Clash in Tawang. Also, find the topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus below:

For Prelims: Current events of national and international importance

Tawang monastery, Location of Tawang, Border with China, Arunachal Pradesh

For Mains: GS Paper II- India and its neighborhood

India-China relations, Border dispute with China.


In the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, troops from India and China recently clashed along the Yangste river.

Probable Question

 “China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia”. In light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor. (UPSC Mains-2017)

About the Clash

  • Since the Galwan Valley incident in 2020, this was the first unfortunate incident between Indian soldiers and Chinese PLA troops.
  • Since 2006, there has been a pattern of both sides patrolling regions up to their claimed borders.


  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang Sector has some points where perceptions are different, according to the Indian Army.
  • The western (Ladakh), middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) parts of the LAC are separated from one another.
  • The incident occurred a few days after China objected to Operation Yudhabhyas, an India-US joint military drill in the Uttarakhand highlands at Auli, claiming it violated boundary accords from 1993 and 1996.

Importance of Arunachal Pradesh 

Strategic Significance

  • The largest state in the northeast, Arunachal Pradesh was formerly known as the Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA) until 1972. It shares international boundaries with Tibet to the north and northwest, Bhutan to the west, and Myanmar to the east.
  • To the northeast, the state acts as a shield.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, however, is regarded by China as a portion of southern Tibet.
  • Furthermore, although China may claim the entire state, its primary interest is in the Tawang district, which is located in the northwest of Arunachal and borders Bhutan and Tibet.

Bhutan Factor

  • If Beijing were to take control of Arunachal, Bhutan would have Chinese neighbors on both its western and eastern borders.
  • China has already started constructing motorable roads connecting critical areas on Bhutan's western border.


  • Since China controls the water supply to the northeastern part of India. It has built a number of dams and is able to utilize flooding or drought as a geostrategic weapon against India.
  • The Tsangpo river, which has its source in Tibet, enters India and travels through Arunachal Pradesh before changing its name to the Brahmaputra.
  • A dam failure in Tibet in 2000 resulted in floods that wreaked havoc in northeast India, killing 30 people and going missing more than 100 more.

China’s interests in the Tawang Sector

Political Importance

Tawang is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and an important pilgrimage centre for Tibetan Buddhists. The 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Tawang after he crossed over from Tibet to India in 1959, spending some days in the monastery there before proceeding further.

Strategic Importance

  • China may have a tactical interest in Tawang since it offers a strategic entrance into northeastern India.
  • Tawang is a key location in the route connecting Tibet and the Brahmaputra Valley.

Cultural Connections

  • There are certain tribes in the upper Arunachal region with ties to the Tibetan people, and Tawang is a significant center for Tibetan Buddhism.
  • There are members of the Monpa tribe who follow Tibetan Buddhism and who can be found in several parts of Tibet.
  • Some observers claim that China is concerned that the existence of these ethnic groups in Arunachal may eventually spark a pro-democracy Tibetan movement against the Chinese government.

Also Read: Light Combat Helicopters Inducted into Indian Air Force

Tawang Monastery

  • The Galden Namgey Lhatse, the second-largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery after Lhasa's Potala Palace, is located in Tawang, which also borders Bhutan.
  • Merag Lodroe Gyamtso established the monastery in 1680–1681 to carry out the wishes of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
  • The monastery, according to China, is proof that the neighborhood was formerly part of Tibet. To bolster their claim to Arunachal, they point to earlier connections between the Tawang monastery and the Tibetan monastery in Lhasa.

Way Forward

  • To effectively preserve its interests, India must be alert to any new developments in China close to its border.
  • Additionally, it needs to develop a strong infrastructure in its challenging border regions to ensure the effective transit of personnel and other logistical supplies.
  • Border guards should carry on their conversation, promptly disengage, keep a safe distance, and defuse tensions.
  • The two parties should refrain from taking any actions that could worsen the situation and adhere to all existing agreements and procedures on China-India boundary concerns.

News Source: Indian Express

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