NEW DELHI, India - As the standoff between India and China, over a disputed territory in the Himalayan mountains, entered its seventh week - fears in the Asia are high that the two regional powers are headed for a face-off that is threatened to be bloodier than 1962 Sino-Indian War.
The standoff over claims of a disputed territory in the Himalayan mountains flared in June after Chinese teams began building a road onto the disputed Doklam Plateau, which is also claimed by Bhutan.
But while China and Bhutan have been negotiating the border for decades without serious incident, the tiny Himalayan kingdom turned to India this time for help, which sent troops across the border from the northeastern state of Sikkim.
While China continues to argue that it possesses historical proof that proves its claims to the plateau, the Bhutan government has alleged that Beijing was trying to claim Bhutanese land, which was "absolutely wrong.”
For weeks now, China has been active in the region which is of huge strategic significance and has moved tens of thousands of tonnes of military vehicles and equipment into Tibet since the start of the border dispute.
China even conducted live firing drills in the disputed territory and warned India to withdraw.
This week, the Indian military increased operational readiness along the eastern Indian border with China.
With neither side showing any sign of backing off from the face-off, the seven-week confrontation between the nuclear-armed neighbours is getting more intense.
According to reports, the standoff currently involves about 300 soldiers on each side standing a few hundred feet apart.
However, the military alert level had been raised as a matter of caution, sources in New Delhi said and in the eastern state of Sikkim.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration has dug in its heels and said that the Chinese road activity in the region near the borders of India, Bhutan and China was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.
All troop formations in the eastern command were reportedly issued a “no war, no peace” order a week back and soldiers are supposed take up positions that are earmarked for them in the event of a war.
China meanwhile has repeated its warning of an escalation if India did not order its troops back.
China’s state-controlled Global Times, which has kept a barrage of hostile commentary on, this week said that if Modi continued the present course in the border, Beijing would have to take "counter-measures.”
Ties between the neighbors have already soured over China's military assistance to India's arch rival Pakistan and its expanding presence in smaller nations in South Asia which India long regarded as its area of influence.
China has, in turn, criticized the Modi government's public embrace of the Dalai Lama and its decision to let the Tibetan spiritual leader, whom it calls a "dangerous splittist,” to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh which China claims as its own.
On Friday, India’s defence minister Arun Jaitley told the parliament that the country’s armed forces are “prepared to take on any eventuality” of the stand-off.
Sources close to the Chinese military, however, said that the People’s Liberation Army is increasingly aware of the possibility of war, but will aim to limit any conflict to the level of skirmishes.
South China Morning Post quoted a military insider as saying, “The PLA will not seek to fight a ground war with Indian troops early on. Instead it will deploy aircraft and strategic missiles to paralyse Indian mountain divisions stationed in the Himalayas on the border with China.”
Earlier in the conflict, China caused more anxiety in India after it retaliated by closing a mountain pass that Indian pilgrims use to reach Mount Kailash, a sacred Hindu and Buddhist site in Tibet.