A border standoff between Chinese and Indian troops on a remote Himalayan plateau has heightened long-standing tensions while ensnaring a tiny kingdom, Bhutan, between the two nuclear-armed powers.
The row has festered for more than a month as India and China refuse to back down in the distant but strategically key territory, reflecting the historic mistrust between the Asian giants.
The area is disputed between China and Bhutan but India's decision to jump into the fray reflects its concerns about Beijing's growing military might and ambitions in the region, analysts say.
The border trouble began in mid-June when Chinese soldiers started to extend a road through the Doklam territory -- known as "Donglang" in Chinese.
India, a close ally of Bhutan, then deployed troops to stop the construction project, prompting Beijing to accuse India of trespassing on Chinese soil.
China, which warned this week that it would step up its deployment, insists that India must withdraw its troops before any proper negotiation takes place. India says said both sides should withdraw their forces.
"The solution to this issue is simple, which is that the Indian troops back out honestly," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this week.
While the deadlock may be broached during Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's visit to Beijing on Thursday, there are no signs that either side is ready to back down.
"It's easier to shake a mountain than to shake the People's Liberation Army (PLA)," Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian boasted at a press conference Monday.