India and China said they want peace but accused each other after soldiers of the two sides savagely fought each other at the Galwan valley, killing at least 20 Indian soldiers.
“We never provoke anyone,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on national television, referring to Monday’s hand-to-hand fighting. “There should be no doubt that India wants peace, but if provoked, India will provide an appropriate response.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the clash erupted after Indian soldiers “crossed the line, acted illegally, provoked and attacked the Chinese, resulting in both sides engaging in serious physical conflict and injury and death”.
He said he did not know of any Chinese casualties, despite Indian media claiming to have killed at least 45 Chinese PLA soldiers.
China’s foreign minister demanded that India punish those behind deadly border clashes between their troops and warned New Delhi not to underestimate Beijing’s determination to safeguard what it considers its sovereign territory.
Wang Yi’s comments came in a telephone call with his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, two days after soldiers from the sides engaged in fighting along their disputed border in the Himalayan Mountains.
Earlier Report: Threat To $60 Billion CPEC Project
China has linked tensions at the Line of Action Control(LAC) in Ladakh to the scrapping of Article 370 in Kashmir. But the turmoil at the LAC is not linked to Article 370 at all. The fact that the $60bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) could be under threat due to India’s changed approach to Kashmir has Beijing worried.
As reported by Eurasian Times earlier, CPEC is part of the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of President Xi Jinping. Valued at $60 bn, the ambitious project is Beijing’s dream to connect Xinjiang region in China to Gwadar Port via Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. However, this is now under threat.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in Lok Sabha: Main sadan mein jab jab Jammu and Kashmir rajya bola hoon tab tab Pakistan occupied Kashmir aur Aksai Chin dono iska hissa hain, ye baat hai. pic.twitter.com/Juft5KViMw
— ANI (@ANI) August 6, 2019
Ever since the landslide victory in 2019, the Narendra Modi government has turned its attention towards Kashmir. The abrogation of Article 370 has integrated the valley with India and given the central government more control to manage the Union Territories of Ladakh and Kashmir.
Unlike before, India has taken a strict position of Kashmir and has on numerous occasions vowed to take back Indian territory under the control of Pakistan and China. Islamabad is on high alert with Imran Khan fearing an invasion under a ‘false flag operation’.
I am reiterating again that a false flag operation is imminent from India in order to divert world attention away from its ongoing genocide in IOJK.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 20, 2020
Experts at EurAsian Times believe that the blame on Article 370 for tensions at LAC is just a smokescreen to hide the fear of losing investment in the region since a bolstered India would not hesitate to attack enemies, something it displayed during the strikes in Balakot.
Indian Metrological Department forecasts weather of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Silently, without fuss or ceremony, India is changing gears on its Kashmir policy.
This is not just about the weather. It’s far, far bigger. https://t.co/LmemIkCAfP
— Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) (@majorgauravarya) May 7, 2020
The report linking LAC tensions to the scrapping of Article 370 was written by Wang Shida, Deputy Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a prominent Chinese think-tank with close links to Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body.
The article described the move as a joint challenge to China and Pakistan, saying the move had “posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Pakistan and China”.
Released on social media on Friday, the report said that India opened up new territory on the map on the Chinese side and incorporated part of the areas under the local jurisdiction of Xinjiang and Tibet into its union territory of Ladakh.
“This forced China into the Kashmir dispute, stimulated China and Pakistan to take counter-actions on the Kashmir issue, and dramatically increased the difficulty in resolving the border issue between China and India.”
Wang said that Beijing had notified External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar about its strong opposition to the abrogation of Article 370 and including Aksai China on the Indian map during his visit to Beijing last year. Jaishankar responded by saying that it was an internal matter and it did not change India’s external boundaries or LAC with China.
The article further goes on to say that China had raised the issue with the United Nations and that it made India-Pakistan relations and China-India relations more complex.
Wang also pointed out that India’s confidence could be explained by the election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 and support from the US and her allies to puff India up from an ideological point of view” to “hedge” against China.
He concludes by saying that American support of India made Washington blind to the atrocities in Indian Kashmir and that India’s attempts to forcibly seize territory are doomed to fail.
Presently, tensions between the two Asiatic giants have reduced. However, the faceoff between the two armies continues at Pangong Ts,o with ministers and army brass looking for a solution to end the standoff peacefully.