What is now happening in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) concerning the rising tension between the
Philippines and China over several islets, reefs and shoals being claimed by both sides is not dissimilar to what has
happened in the past this time between China and India who are also claiming vital territories along their borders
and even went to war in one instance because of a disputed piece of land. To those who may not be aware of this let us look back into what happened between China and India in the year 1962 when both these superpowers went to war because of their border dispute in Aksai Chin, a portion of the Kasmir region, at the northernmost extent of the
Indian subcontinent in south-central Asia.

The Aksai Chin area constitutes almost all of the territory of the Chinese-administered sector of Kashmir that is claimed by India to be part of their Ladakh union territory. Because of its remoteness and isolation the Aksai Chin plateau region was largely ignored but in the 1950s the Chinese established a military road in the area to connect Tibet with Xinjiang, China. Upon discovery of the military road and the Chinese presence in that sector the Indian government attempted to regain control of the disputed region which led to several border clashes between 1959 and 1962 and which culminated in a very short war between October 20 and November 20 1962 when the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China attacked across the disputed boundaries and defeated the Indian forces deployed in the area.

In that Sino-Indian war the Indian forces were soundly beaten and 7,000 of their soldiers were either killed or captured. It was later noted that the Chinese chose the height of the Cuban missile crisis as their moment of attack,
apparently expecting that the crisis will distract the attention of other superpowers from intervening in their invasion. But as history recorded the Cuban crisis was immediately resolved thus allowing the United States to act
immediately on the request for help by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by dispatching a U.S. aircraft
carrier to the Indian subcontinent.

With this development China announced a unilateral ceasefire on November 20, 1962 and withdrew their forces from most of the invaded area while retaining control of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 square kilometers) of territory in Aksai Chin. Until now the area remains a disputed territory between the two countries. (https:// Sino-Indian-War) But that is not all, Chinese and Indian troops continue to engage in clashes along other areas of their border such as in the Galwan Valley where both sides sustained casualties and as recently as in 2022 where another clash erupted between Chinese and Indian forces that led to the deaths of some of their soldiers on both sides.

What is significant to note in these confrontation and clashes is that both sides have taken to using clubs, sticks and
stones to war against each other. Perhaps this is so because both sides are wary that in the event of another shooting war one side may end up using its nuclear arsenal to defeat the other. We have to remember that these are both
superpowers in their own right and possess nuclear weapons at their disposal. So now we come to the Philippines which is constantly being harassed, threatened, intimidated and confronted with water cannons, lasers and other
aggressive actions by China as it attempts to thwart re-supply missions by the former for its garrisoned soldiers at the decommissioned BRP Siera Madre at the Ayungin Shoal.

For all intents and purposes the Philippines is laying claim to the Ayungin Shoal and intends to bolster its sovereignty over the area hence the presence of the ship and soldiers in that shoal. China also wants to stake its claim over Ayungin shoal and thus is using all the tactics available in the book, short of utilizing weapons of war, to
dissuade the Philippine military from entering or even patrolling the waters in around the shoal. If we take a closer look at the situation in the West Philippine Sea today this is becoming eerily similar to the situation between China and India in their continuing border dispute which has gone on for several decades already.

The only notable differences between both situations is that for one India is not averse or afraid to go to war against China since their standing army is a close second to that of China in terms of size. Another is that India already has one of the most modern militaries in the world and as already stated also possesses nuclear weapons which acts as a deterrent against any would be aggressor. On the part of the Philippines there is the presence of the US military in our shores and the defense treaty which offers some sort of deterrence against the China aggression. That is a reality which we have to face. India back then sought the help of the US against China when the war happened in 1962 so perhaps having a big brother around is an advantage and convenience against those, like China, who would trample on the sovereignty of the Philippines.

Amianan Balita Ngayon