Indian and Chinese relations plummeted to new lows this June, when soldiers from both armies clashed in hand-to-hand combat in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh. Reports claimed 20 Indian soldiers, as well as a speculated 35 Chinese troops, died in the brawl, with officials from both countries negotiating a tense ceasefire between the nuclear powers. Now former Indian commander Lieutenant General PJS Pannu has warned an all-out war between India and China would be devastating to the world.

The former commander told the Independent a third of humanity would the involved in a clash between India and China.

He said: “The onus lies on the political and diplomatic community to find solutions to avoid grave human tragedy.

“Not only in Asia but also for a larger part of the word. If this kind of irrationality persists, people will lose their jobs, health and lives. Economies are already shrinking.

“China is inviting anger of the whole world … A war would mean the world attacking China from all directions.”

READ MORE: WW3 fears explode as US, India, Japan and Australia unite against China in military drills

Following June’s skirmish in the Galwan Valley, both India and China have claimed to want a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Last month, both sides agreed to stop sending troops to Ladakh, near the Himalayas, in efforts to resolve the dispute.

A joint press release from then Indian government claimed both countries have agreed to “avoid misunderstanding sand misjudgements”, as well as to “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground”.

China also confirmed India has handed back a Chinese soldier from custody after they crossed into Indian-controlled territory in Ladakh, further signalling a desire for diplomacy.

China was enraged by India’s rush to build roads and railways into Ladakh.

Wang Wenbin, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, claimed the infrastructure is purely for military purposes, and urged India to stop complicating the tense border row.

He added: “China has not recognised Ladakh Union Territory illegally set up by the Indian side.

“We are opposed to conducting infrastructure development for military purposes in the border area.

“Based on the two sides’ consensus no side should engage in the border areas in any activities that might complicate the situation to avoid undermining efforts by the two sides to ease the situation.”

It comes as India has teamed up with the US, Japan and Australia in naval drills, in what experts suggest is a warning to China.

John Blaxland, a professor at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, told the South China Morning Post the Quad’s drills were clearly against China’s recent aggressive actions.

He added: “There’s one common factor here – and it’s not hard to discern what it is – that is driving these countries that would otherwise not be looking to work more closely together to all of a sudden overcome their reluctance, their uncertainty and their unease to double down on making this arrangement work.

“China has to a large extent brought this on itself. Its ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy, its unwillingness to negotiate on the South China Sea, its assertiveness across the Indian Ocean, and its assertiveness in the South Pacific have all raised considerable unease and have undermined popular views of China.”

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