As India and China face off in the mountains, a new confrontation is growing in the ocean | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

As India and China face off in the mountains, a new confrontation is growing in the ocean

The rivalry between India and China is heating up as the heavyweight economies face territorial tensions on both land and sea.

A fierce border standoff in Bhutan's Doklam region — triggered by a Chinese road construction project in a disputed area and a Bhutanese request for Indian help — is now entering its second month with soldiers from both sides engaged in skirmishes. But a new confrontation in the relationship is arising as New Delhi is growing concerned about a Chinese naval presence in its own backyard: the Indian Ocean.

"As the [Doklam] crisis stretches on, China is likely to seek ways to pressure India, both on the border and elsewhere, and this will compound the cycle of competition that is already well underway," Shashank Joshi, research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said in a recent note published by the Lowy Institute.

Indeed, the recent joint naval drills between the U.S., India and Japan — known as the Malabar exercises — were widely interpreted as a coordinated response to perceived Chinese expansion in the Indian Ocean.

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The Trump administration seeks to enhance the wins the Obama administration had with the Indian government, regarding a mutual defense understanding.

That being said, should this war of words between India and China truly escalate into a shooting war, the Indian government needs to look at the reality that the US military will most likely be unable to deliver much help, because it may soon be fighting wars on multiple fronts, so the Indian government and military will most likely have to rely on themselves, to extricate themselves from a shooting war with China; and both countries have nuclear weapons.