When the pandemic has brought the whole world to its knees, India is facing another challenge on its border with three neighbours. Tensions with northern neighbours have been flaring up on the borders along with China, Pakistan and Nepal.
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India and Pakistan have seen frequent border clashes since 1947. The number of ceasefire violations has jumped to over 3200 in 2019 along with the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) border, which is the highest number of ceasefire violations in the last 16 years.
The border clashes have been on a surge after the autonomous status of J&K was scrapped in August last year. “Pakistani troops repeatedly targeted forwards posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) to create a fear psychosis among the people,” said a senior police officer.
India has voiced its concerns several times on global platforms including the United Nations asserting that Pakistan is nurturing and supporting Islamist militant groups and sending them across the border into India, a claim rejected by Islamabad.
Recently Jammu and Kashmir’s director general of police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said that over 300 terrorists are present in launch pads across the LoC in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, waiting to infiltrate into the Indian side. “Regarding the International Border (IB), two to three terrorist groups have been able to infiltrate so far during the current year. That kind of notorious act by Pakistan continues,” he said.
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On May 20, terrorists riding a motorcycle shot at the BSF soldiers killing two of the security personnel in capital Srinagar. According to reports, two militants on motorcycles charged a security patrol. The terrorists sprayed bullets, resulting in serious injuries to three security personnel. They were rushed to SKIMS hospital, however, two were declared dead on arrival.
The attack comes after two terrorists were killed by the security forces in Srinagar itself. Three security personnel were injured and several houses were damaged as a gunfight erupted between the militants and the security forces.
India has accused Pakistan of sponsoring and radicalization the youths of Kashmir, a charge denied by Pakistan, who claim that they only extend moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people seeking freedom from India.
While Pakistan is an ‘old enemy’, China is seen as a close friend of the ‘enemy’. China is often regarded as Pakistan’s strongest ally besides having fractured diplomatic relations with India.
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Most of the clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops occur over the ‘unrecognized’ Line of Actual Control (LAC). As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, Chinese soldiers intensified control measures in the Galwan valley of Aksai Chin, a region controlled by China and claimed by India.
The recent instance involved the two sides clashing in an ‘arm-less’ scuffle at the Naku La pass in North Sikkim, injuring soldiers from both sides. The Chinese military helicopters were later seen flying close to the LAC on several occasions.
India has also dispatched troops along the border after reports of China pitching tents near river Galwan, which was the flashpoint of 1962 India-China war.
The US also backed India and said that the border disputes were a reminder of “threat by China”. The “provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that poses questions about how China seeks to use its growing power”, said Alice Wells, the US diplomat.
“That’s why you’ve seen a rallying of like-minded nations whether it is in ASEAN or through other diplomatic groupings like the trilateral with the US, Japan and India, or the Quad — conversations globally about how we can reinforce the principles of the post-World War II global order that supported free and open trade, that raised all boats including the Chinese boat,” she added.
India and Nepal have traditionally shared very strong ties, however, the border dispute over Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura seems to be spiralling out.
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The row started after PM Oli’s Cabinet published a new political map depicting the three regions (Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura ) as part of Nepal’s territory. New Delhi responded to such claims by saying that India will not accept such “artificial enlargement of territorial claims”, and urged the Nepalese leadership to “create a positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue to resolve the outstanding boundary issues”.
This came after Army Chief General M.M. Naravane hinted at China’s involvement in provoking Nepal to protest against India’s inauguration of a Himalayan link road which falls at a strategic three-way junction with Tibet and China.
Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali denied these reports saying that “Nepal would never allow any sort of interference in its internal matters. We have good relations with China that’s true, but that does not mean Nepal will pick a side.
Nepal always pursued neutral foreign policy. We have good relations with two foreign neighbours. So, to attribute anything between Nepal and India to a China factor is completely wrong.”
Penned By Smriti Chaudhary, Mumbai