|India–China border, showing Aksai Chin|
Aksai Chin is a disputed border area between China and India. It is largely part of Hotan County, which lies in the southwestern part of Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China, with a small portion on the southeast and south sides lying within the extreme west of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
But it is also claimed by India as a part of the union territory of Ladakh. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996, the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.
Aksai Chin (the name literally means "Chin's desert of white stones") is a very large high-altitude desert of salt that reaches heights up to 5,000 metres. It covers an area of 42,685 km² (16,481 sq mi) of the disputed territory.
Geographically part of the Tibetan Plateau, Aksai Chin is often called the Soda Plain. The region is almost uninhabited, has no permanent settlements, and receives little rain or snow as the Himalayan and other mountains block the rains from the Indian monsoon. Despite this region being nearly uninhabitable and having no resources, it remains strategically important for China as it connects Tibet and Xinjiang.
Besides officials from the Chinese military, the inhabitants of Aksai Chin are, for the most part, members of nomadic groups such as the Bakarwal who regularly pass through the area. The best known settlements are the town of Tianshuihai and the village of Tielongtan.
Images for kids
Aksai Chin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.