The long-standing border conflict between two giants of South Asia has disrupted the peace in the region. Narendra Modi’s miscalculation for Indian expansionism in the Himalayas at the disputed frontier along the Line of Actual Control was an explicit move to threaten the status-quo by breaking the consensus with China on the front line. China observed the Indian efforts for constructing the road in Ladakh as a challenge to its strategic position and retaliated against India with its forces on June 15th. The incident led to the escalation of tensions between the two countries. It is reported that twenty Indian soldiers were killed during the attack by the Chinese aggressive army. The incident led to the birth of profusion of queries and apprehensions. The cause of the conflict was India’s expansionist policies for its regional hegemony, but can India afford to challenge the regional superpower China?
Will India Insist Against China in the Border Area?
There is no denying the fact that India is a giant in South Asia, but does playing games against China suit India? The Chinese retaliation against India on 15th June made it very clear to the world that it is not in the advantage of Indian military power to combat the Chinese army. The incident clearly shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi intends to gain regional hegemony across the South Asian region by disrupting the foundation of the enduring Sino-Pakistan entente and halt the progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India understands the Sino-Pakistan relation as an initiative directed against its interests for regional hegemony, including its concerns for Kashmir. The distressing call for India includes frequent military-to-military exchanges between Pakistan and China, high-level exchanges of civilian leaders, Chinese transfer of critical military technologies to Pakistan, Chinese support for the development of Pakistan’s military-industrial base, Chinese support for the expansion of Pakistan’s regional links and most importantly China acting as deterrent support for Pakistan during confrontations with India.
However, there is little comparison between India and China in terms of military and economic power. India needs to proceed with caution on this front. If there arises a situation of the Indo-Sino war considering Indo-U.S alliance, it is highly unlikely that America fills come out for its support against China. America itself is tangled in dealing with its domestic racial quagmires and fighting the scar of diluted deterrence, it could not stop a small country like Iran to provide oil in America’s neighbor Venezuela against the U.S sanctions. How could it stop a giant country like China which has a strong identical alliance with Russia, Iran, and Pakistan. Moreover, the United States is dealing with its declining economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. All countries have to fend for themselves.
It can be said that India would not go for this unwanted situation. It is understood that it would not dare to become aggressive to China because India’s west is its hated enemy Pakistan and its aggregate strength is not sufficient to challenge China.
What is China’s Stance in Managing Conflict?
This is the fourth time that India and China entered into serious conflict since 2013. However, this must be noted that despite long-standing border tensions, the two countries always moved towards crisis stability because of significant multilateral cooperation and interdependence in various terms, i-e The BRICs bloc comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in which India is the second-largest capital contributor, the New Development Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – have all been the areas for cooperation, which halt the on-going security tussle. Likely, China would not escalate the conflict with India if India chooses empathy over war. It is in the interest of both the countries to continue their economic relations and bolster trade links which hold a strong significance in their bilateral relationship.
Moreover, China wants regional peace by maintaining a balance between Pakistan and India and to keep Pakistan strong enough to stay independent of India’s domination. It can be said that China would either not like to escalate or go for a war keeping in view the Geo-strategic interests and current circumstances in the wake of COVID-19. The country is already dealing with accusations of COVID-19, its trade war with the United States, it would not prefer to get involved in another conflict. As any war initiated by a country destroy its benefits of a net exporter in the world trade, China cannot afford this loss at the moment and threaten regional peace.
What is Pakistan’s Viewpoint in Indo-China border tensions?
India’s growing aggression against China is a direct threat to Pakistan. Pakistan perceives India as a clear threat to the whole region for its terrorist attempts to break the consensus developed at LoC with Pakistan and LAC with China. Pakistan backed the position over Ladakh with China against India. It has been manifested through Narendra Modi’s attempts to break the entente between Pakistan and China and emerge as a regional hegemon. The recent attempt to construct a road in the Ladakh region and invite China’s aggression is a signal towards India’s playful games.
According to Pakistan, Modi is a sponsor of terrorism in the region by making such moves. The first pre-Ladakh hit made on August 5, 2019, the memory of Pulwama and Balakot where an Indian pilot was shot and caught in Pakistan, the recent deliberate intrusion in Chinese territory and attacking the Chinese personnel reveals the insanity of Indian Prime Minister. Moreover, the recent Karachi Stock Exchange attack on June 29th which was ascribed to the Baluchistan Liberation Army is found to have linkages with Indian Intelligence. It is well-known that China has a huge stake in Pakistan Stock Exchange. There is no denying the fact that New Delhi is proactive in demonizing Pakistan as Sino-Pak biggest geo-economic rival. Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that ‘’India has fomented terrorism inside Pakistan‖ by providing training and financial and material support to terrorist groups to kill innocent people in Pakistan. She said Pakistan had proposed the designation of four Indian nationals namely Venumadhav Dongara, Ajoy Mistry, Gobinda Patnaik, and Angara Appaji in 2019 under the United Nations 12wf Sanctions List’’.
However, Pakistan knows that the great game is on with huge stakes, but its interests lay in maintaining regional balance. This is the reason Pakistan is ready to tackle the hostility with China playing an active role by its side. Instead of escalating the conflict, Pakistan and China are working to operationalize Gawadar and CPEC despite the COVID setback. Pakistan has given effective control to China in the completion of CPEC and deals with Indian threats as a priority. Moreover, Pakistan seeks the support of Russia, Iran, Afghanistan to get together and fight against the terrorist attempts of India. As PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif also said, ‘’ China, Pakistan, Russia and other peace-loving countries of the region should sign a pact to fight jointly against such aggression’’. All these countries realizing the need for CPEC as a boost to the regional economy and a road to cooperation have extended their support for the immediate completion of this project.
Is India backed by the U.S against Sino-Pak Alliance?
China’s recent countermeasure by occupying the Galway Valley against Indian action in Ladakh made India accept its hegemony in the region, and stay away from its affair . It does not matter whether the United States is allied with India against the joint Sino-Pak mission for bringing economic prosperity in the region because China has gained a strong influence. India lost its reputation and worth in front of all regional countries due to its illegitimate attempts trying to exercise its hegemony while showing no respect for humanity.
Modi’s extremism made India lose the significance of the Indo-U.S alliance. The United States has realized the importance of Pakistan in the region and its role in fighting against terrorism. This brings it closer to Pakistan. The United States’ re-engagement with Pakistan also serves China’s interest in checking the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. However, Pakistani leadership has to be smart in taking measures with the two superpowers while not offending anyone, particularly China.