India has been on the edge of a potential war with two of its neighbours – China and Pakistan. While India and China have emphasized that both the sides want to disengage at the conflicted border, India and Pakistan, however, have been at loggerheads for decades over Kashmir.
Daniel Markey, a senior research professor in international relations at John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, has warned that a war between India and Pakistan is more likely than a conflict with China, reported the Daily Express.
India and China are engaged in a border dispute on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. A bloody clash broke out in June killing 20 Indian troops and undisclosed Chinese troops along with several soldiers injured.
But this wasn’t the only one. Several clashes followed and among one of them, shots were fired in the air for the first time in the last four decades in breach of several treaties signed between both sides.
In contrast to this, the India-Pakistan border usually sees violent clashes. “India/Pakistan conflict routinely features artillery, shelling and last year airstrikes.
Furthermore, India and China, up until now, have a remarkable track record of avoiding violent conflict and just as many and possibly many more reasons to avoid this spilling into war than India/Pakistan do,” said Markey in a report by Daily Express.
In the past eight months (from January 1 to September 7) there have been 3,186 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC), the Indian government told the Parliament. This is the highest in the last 17 years.
Moreover, there were also 242 incidents of cross-border firing (from January 1 to August 31), in the Jammu region, along the international border with Pakistan, Shripad Naik, Minister of State for Defence, said in the Rajya Sabha.
Markey argued that India-Pakistan conflicts could benefit India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Dealing with Pakistan never worked, excepting the status quo in Kashmir wasn’t working for India either. If you look at the Indian side, you’ll see a legitimate Indian argument, voiced by many inside and outside the government. So when Prime Minister Modi takes these actions, they are not unpopular, they are electorally beneficial on his part,” he said in reference to the airstrikes carried out by the Indian Security Forces against Pakistan last year.
“The prospects of a live, conventional war between India, Pakistan is always greater than India, China,” reiterated Markey. He further points out that India and China have a “remarkable track record of avoiding violent conflict and just as many and possibly many more reasons to avoid this spilling into war than India-Pakistan do.”
He explained that the economic interest acts as a huge deterrent for Bejing and New Delhi. The leadership of both countries have shown keen interest in developing an extensive “economic and developmental” relationship. “They both recognise each other as significant neighbours and would like to pursue that,” he added.