Though India and China have engaged in bilateral border talks and resolved border points, the friction between the two countries is not yet over and could escalate swiftly, according to the 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U S Intelligence Community.
“Previous stand-offs have demonstrated that persistent low-level friction on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has the potential to escalate swiftly,” said the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
“While India and China have engaged in bilateral border talks and resolved border points, relations will remain strained in the wake of the countries’ lethal clash in 2020, the most serious in decades,” the report said
Further, it said that the expanded military postures by both the countries along the disputed border elevate the risk of armed confrontation between two nuclear powers that might involve direct threats to U.S. persons and interests, and calls for U.S. intervention.
On the relation between India and Pakistan, the report said, “Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations.”
Each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints, it said.
The report also mentioned that New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a cease-fire along the Line of Control in early 2021.