India opens disputed border region to mountaineers
On World Tourism Day, India opened a base camp on the Siachen Glacier, Ladakh, a Himalayan on the border with Aksai Chin. Tourists will be able to visit a martyrs’ memorial for Indian soldiers killed in war. Meanwhile, China is strengthening its military positions on its side of the border.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – In the “War on the roof of the world” with China, India is playing the mountaineers' card.
Yesterday, World Tourism Day, a base camp was officially opened on the Siachen Glacier, scene of fighting in spring 2020 that cost the lives of dozens of Indian and Chinese soldiers in the perennial ice of the Himalayas.
A provisional border divides India’s Ladakh region from China’s Aksai Chin. In recent years, India has invested heavily in local infrastructure, including the Siachen base camp.
Since yesterday Indian tourists have access to the site and can go as far as the border with China.
In presenting its initiative, the Indian government stressed the great work in impervious conditions by the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, explaining that tourists in this area of Ladakh will be able to visit the Galwan Valley Martyrs’ Memorial, which commemorates Indian soldiers fallen in the war with China.
China and India share a 3,488 km border in the rugged Himalayan region, over which they fought a brief but bloody war in 1962.
India claims large sectors of Aksai Chin (which the Chinese obtained from Pakistan) while China claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
After the fighting in May 2020 in the Galwan valley, the two sides reached an agreement to de-escalate. Nevertheless, tensions remain high.
Chinese sources claim that the Chinese military are building new high-altitude positions in Aksai Chin in response to India initiatives in Ladakh.