By Sajjad Shaukat for VT
In the recent past, India and China held military-level talks to resolve the current border issue in eastern Ladakh peacefully. But, no breakthrough occurred, as on May 5, this year, drastic tensions arose between New Delhi and Beijing, taking both the countries to the edge of war.
In response to India’s construction of roads and airstrips adjacent to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which will improve connectivity and enable easier mobility for Indian troops in the area, thousands of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops moved into the regions along the eastern Ladakh border, setting up tents and stationing vehicles and heavy machinery.
Reports confirmed that the Indian army has moved several battalions from an infantry division usually based in the Ladakh city of Leh to “operational alert areas” along the border.
In this connection, Chinese official newspaper Global Times wrote: “The latest border friction was a planned move by New Delhi…India in recent days has illegally constructed defence facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley region, leaving Chinese border defence troops no other options but making necessary moves in response, and mounting the risk of escalating standoffs and conflicts between the two sides.”
Notably, acting upon the August 5 announcement of 2019, Indian central government issued a map on October 31, 2019. In accordance with it, Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and identifies Pakistani side of Azad Kashmir as well as certain areas of Gilgit-Baltistan as an Indian territory.
Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) had rejected these political maps, which were incompatible with the United Nations maps.
Beijing also snubbed the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories as “unlawful and void”, elaborating that India’s decision to “include” some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction “challenged” Beijing’s sovereignty.
India has escalated tensions with Islamabad particularly in the aftermath of the false flag terror attack at Puwama-IOK. In this respect, on February 27, last year, in response to the Indian so-called pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK.
In fact, as part of anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim policies, PM Modi, the ruling party BJP-led, RSS and VHP are implementing ideology of Hindutva ((Hindu Nationalism). Their various moves such as abrogation of the special status of the Jummu and Kashmir to turn Muslim majority into minority in the Occupied Kashmir (IOK), continued lockdown in the IOK, martyrdom of thousands of the Kashmiris there, introduction of new domicile law against the majority of Kashmiris to completely end any sort of dialogue with Islamabad to settle the Kashmir issue, persecution of religious minorities especially Muslims, anti-Muslim laws-CAA/NRC, assaults on Muslims by the fanatic Hindus, blaming Indian Muslims and Pakistan for spreading coronavirus etc., and intermittent shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir in relation to the Line of Control (LoC) might be cited as example.
As regards the India-Nepal confrontation, a new road opened by New Delhi which passes through the disputed territory has roused territorial dispute between the two countries. The link road connects Dharchula in the India state of Uttarakhand to the Lipu Lekh pass near the LAC–India’s border with China.
India and China have 3,500 kilometers long un-demarcated border which runs along Himalayas. There are three pressure points: the China-Sikkim border, Nepal-India border and the Ladakh region where there is a lake and river.
Indian media reports suggest that Indian has lost hundreds of square kilometers of area and it is being dubbed as ‘second Kargil’.
Meanwhile, recently, India’s Home Minister Shri Amit Shah threatened of conducting air and surgical strikes inside Pakistani territory.
Reacting to Amit Shah’s statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated: “Let me make it clear to Amit Shah that if India made the mistake, we will give a befitting response…Amit Shah should tell…Why does India not launch a surgical strike on Laddakh?…India has reached the extreme in committing atrocities in Kashmir…India wants to sabotage the Afghan peace process…New Delhi is threatening Pakistan to divert attention from its internal situation”.
Earlier, the DG of ISPR Maj-General Babar said: “Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa warned India…[saying] We will respond any aggression with full might…Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army have said that India was planning false flag operation…India faced great humiliation in the recent military standoff with China…faced embarrassment in map issues with Nepal as well…India is facing many internal challenges especially after the emergence of coronavirus…many issues have emerged in India after the August 5, 2019 move, which revoked the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir…There is an emergence of Islamophobia in India. Now they [India] think the best way is to divert the attention towards Pakistan…The situation on the LoC…1229 ceasefire violations by India have been committed since start of this year…while their quadcopters have also violated airspace [Of Pakistan] on different occasions”.
As a matter of fact, fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with the Third World has irked the eyes of Indians. Nepal has become another target of the Indian hegemonic designs in South Asia, as it has developed cordial relationship with Beijing, while New Delhi’s endeavor to alienate Nepal from China has failed.
It is worth-mentioning that China’s increasingly closer ties with Pakistan and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has openly been opposed by India which is trying to sabotage this project, as recent terror-attacks, sponsored by Indian RAW in Pakistan and Balochistan province have shown. As part of the new cold war with China, America has also opposed the CPEC. Hence, Washington is supporting Indian illegitimate stand in connection with present border tensions between India and China.
Nevertheless, border tensions in Ladakh also occurred between New Delhi and Beijing in 2014. The standoff was resolved after three weeks.
In 2017, India and China were engaged in a similar stand-off lasting more than two months in Doklam plateau, a tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. The situation was later defused through diplomatic channels.
Nonetheless, unlike the past, this time, Sino-India border tensions have intensified. If it is not resolved through negotiations, it could result into a conventional war which may culminate into nuclear war. Same is the case of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint and New Delhi is following aggressive strategy against Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org