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Reasons and Background of Recent Indo-China Border Conflicts

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The border dispute between India and China over Ladakh and its adjoining areas is nothing new. The two countries also fought a war in 1962 over these border disputes. But it is also a fact that despite the existence of these border disputes, not a single bullet has been fired between the two countries since 1975.

Despite the recent border disputes and the stand-off of troops in Ladakh and adjoining areas between the two countries, not a single shot has been fired. Poles and stones have been used by both sides. The two countries have a tacit agreement that does not allow the use of bullets and other weapons.

In contrast, in the border disputes between Pakistan and India, the issue starts with bullets and heavy artillery shelling. India’s attitude and strategy on Pakistan’s border are indeed way different from China’s Border. With the border dispute with Pakistan, the Indian leadership also start verbal shelling. Statements are made that create a war hysteria, but this is not the case with China.

India is also alleging that China has entered Indian territory, but there is complete silence on the part of India. So far, the Indian Foreign Office has not issued a single statement, while the Chinese Foreign Office has issued several statements. The Indian Media is making noise that China has entered Indian territory, but so far no protest has been carried out by calling the Chinese ambassador.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi indeed had a long meeting with his three military chiefs a few days ago to review the situation, but no statement was issued neither from the Indian army or Prime Minister Modi. If this was the case with Pakistan, there would have been an uproar by now, but India’s approach towards China is more with restraint and patience. So far, India’s strategy is clear that they want to avoid any kind of war with China. India is trying to handle the issue through back-channel diplomacy.

Currently, there are tensions between India and China in four places. There are three locations in Ladakh which are adjacent to Kashmir. When India had recently abolished the special status of Kashmir, it had also announced the separation of Ladakh from Kashmir. However, there are currently severe border tensions between India and China at three key locations in Ladakh. However, the fourth place is NUKU La Pass, which is between the Indian state of Sikkim and the Chinese territory of Tibet. There has been a disagreement between India and China over Tibet, so this position and the tensions are very important.

China claims Tibet an integral part of its territory, while India has sheltered the Dalai Lama, the head of Tibet’s self-styled exiled government. But despite the dispute, the two countries are trading at $92 billion and China has invested heavily in India. China also claims that its 90,000 sq km area is under Indian control, which China wants to take back. In this situation, there are two types of borders between India and China. One is the Line of Actual Control and the other is the CCL (Chinese claim of land).

There is also a dispute between India and China over Pangong Lake in Ladakh. Two-thirds of the 134-kilometer-long lake is currently occupied by China, but despite this, there is still tension on the lake. Various places along this lake are called “Fingers”. India’s position is that the border starts with finger number 2 while China’s position is that the border starts with finger number 8.

On the occasion of Kargil, when India withdrew all its troops from here to fight Pakistan, China had built a road at Finger No. 4, which has made it easier for China to patrol here by vehicles. Kargil may or may not have benefited Pakistan, but China did benefit from building this road, and China’s position was strengthened. Since then, India has been trying to build a road near Finger No. 2 in response. China has strong reservations about this and it does not want India to build this road, because, after that, India will also be in a position to patrol the area with vehicles. That is why China has now multiplied its military presence near Finger No. 3, building military bunkers to prevent India from building the road. The position of India here is getting very weak now. If India does not build this road, this lake will get out of its hands.

Galwan Valley has been peaceful since 1962. This is the only area where China’s CCL and LAC are almost the same, so there is no border dispute. However, India is building roads near the LAC in the region, which China has strong reservations about. China’s position is that the construction of these roads will give India a lead in the region. To stop the construction of roads, China has also increased the number of its troops there and stopped the construction of roads. At the moment, it is being acknowledged that China has come within three kilometers of the Line of Actual Control at Galwan Valley in Ladakh. Due to which it is being said that China has occupied Indian territory. But China’s position is that it is within its territory according to the CCL.

India will do its best to avoid war. But this time, the areas where China has improved its position are dangerous for India, and also important for CPEC. The fact that China is forcing Indian forces to retreat in Ladakh is a clear message that China will not allow the ‘Belt and Road Project’ or the ‘CPEC Project’ to be harmed under any circumstances. The PLA has also conveyed the message that China will not hesitate to use its diplomatic and military might to quell any future Indian aggression. Besides, India is not digesting Chinese economic and military development. In all these situations in the future, CPEC will face more threats than ever before, for which, it is necessary to maintain peace inside Pakistan.

India is losing a lot strategically but still, India has no option to fight. India realizes that peace with Pakistan is essential to fight China. That is why India remained silent when China occupied Indian-occupied territory and built a road on the occasion of Kargil. Because India could not afford to fight two wars at once. Pakistan is not far from this area, and Pak-India tensions over Kashmir are nothing new.

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