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India steals mountain from China amid Australia war warning on U.S. election

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Indian troops seized the mountainous heights about 15,000 feet above sea level in the disputed border region of eastern Ladakh, in response to Chinese army preparations to occupy the area, as China tries to erode the will of U.S. allies at a time when the communist country is struggling at home and abroad.  

Some think the developments in India and elsewhere could even indicate China’s willingness to engage in armed conflict with the United States before the presidential election.

“On August 31, even as ground commanders of two sides were in discussions to de-escalate the situation, Chinese troops again engaged in provocative action. Due to timely defensive action, Indian side was able to prevent these attempts to unilaterally alter status quo,” said India’s Ministry of External Affairs about the mountain seizure.

“India should not have any illusions of Washington’s support, nor does it need to embolden itself by strengthening cooperation,” said Global Times, a Chinese government media outlet, in response to the Indian movement. “China-India border issues are bound to be solved by the two. The US can only support India verbally. How can it help India grab Chinese territory? What is really in the minds of the Americans is to let India and China consume themselves so that India can become a more useful pawn in the US’ China containment strategy.”

China and India have been engaged in an active border dispute since the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops attacked Indian troops in the region in June.

Twenty Indian soldiers were clubbed to death by Chinese soldiers in the incident, as China seeks to demonstrate to both the U.S and India that a growing U.S.-Indian relationship will lead to further use of force by China.

China, warns area experts, has entered into a dangerous new phase of territorial expansion led by China’s communist strongman, Xi Jinping, that seeks to establish Chinese superiority over the U.S. in international relations.

China has been expanding in the South China Sea area, in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, by a strategy of slicing of small bits of territory, known as “salami slicing” but is now appearing to up the ante, by going after larger areas, not shy about real military clashes, trying to show the U.S. as impotent in the face of Chinese arms.  

“As long as Xi perceives the strategic benefits as outweighing the international costs,” warns Brahma Chellaney, “he will persist with his campaign of expansionism.”

“But he is already sowing the seeds of an international backlash,” Chellaney added.

In Australia, people are incensed at the Chinese detention of Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who worked at a Chinese-run English language TV station and disappeared two weeks ago.

Lei, it appears, is another casualty of Beijing’s desire to warn off U.S. allies.

China has detained Cheng Lei as a not-so-subtle warning to Australia that its citizens won’t be safe as long as Australia counts itself as a strategic partner of the United States and won’t truckle to China.  

“As long as Australia refuses to comply with Beijing’s directives and be compliant, it can expect its citizens in China to be detained without charges, due process or speedy resolution,” said John Blaxland, a former intelligence officer and a professor at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who previously scoffed at the idea of a Sino-Chinese war, warned earlier this month that a “hot war” between the U.S. and China “before US presidential elections in November…is no longer inconceivable.”

At the very least, it’s no longer inconceivable between India and China.

In fact, the war has already started.

PHOTO: Manish Swarup/Associated Press

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