China-India border face-off amid Tibet unrest

India is protesting what it calls an incursion by some 30 Chinese troops from across the Line of Actual Control in the Himalayas. New Delhi says the troops entered from Tibet on April 15, and established an encampment 10 kilometers within India-controlled territory, in Depsang valley of Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir state. Chinese helicopters also reportedly entered India's airspace. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid is to visit Beijing next month to discuss the border tensions, but China denies its troops have entered Indian territory.

Delhi has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to track the Chinese army's activities near Daulat Beg Oldie, where India established a landing strip during the 1962 war. At 5,100 meters (16,700 feet), the strip is one of the world's highest, and was reopened in 2008. Local militay commanders on each side held "flag meetings" at the LAC on April 18 and 23, but remained at odds over whether the incursion has taken place. (NDTV, April 25; Tibetan Review, April 24; NDTV, April 23)

The border tensions come amid continued unrest and escalated repression in Tibet. On April 25, two young Tibetan monks self-immolated at the Taktsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Zoege, Aba county, Sichuan. Their deaths brought the number of self-immolations by Tibetans since 2009 to 117.  (Phayul, April 24)

The US Statement Department’s 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices accuses China of severe repression and a marked deterioration of human rights in Tibet: "Under the banner of maintaining social stability, the government engaged in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s ethnic Tibetan population, including the freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement… There was a deepening perception among Tibetans that they were systemically targeted for economic marginalization and educational and employment discrimination."

It report charges China with extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detentions, and house arrests. The report found there was a high level of security forces throughout Tibet, particularly at major monasteries. (Central Tibetan Administration, April 20)