India and Pakistan, the name together remind us of nothing but the partition days, the issue of Kashmir and the tension of war that prevails between the two countries now and then. However, is the issue of Kashmir, restricted to only two countries? What makes the Kashmir issue so widely discussed at the international platform? What makes the interference of other countries so relevant? Why are other countries asking India and Pakistan to take immediate steps to de-escalate the current situation? We have answers to all these curious questions here.
The tensions between the two countries taking the shape of war is not new to the world. They have gone for the war four times since independence. The present tension can also be converted into war shortly. As the fights are not new, it is the element of the battle that changes each time and makes these countries possessive each time for their area under their control. This time it’s Article 370 which gives autonomy to Kashmir, turned out to be the significant element.
What will be the impact on the world if war takes place?
India and Pakistan, both the countries have nuclear capabilities, and any escalation can put a significant impact on other countries too. China is playing a more prominent role. It has played a constructive role in reducing Indo-Park tension, as mentioned by the Chinese foreign ministry. However, in reality, it’s trying to be escapist due to its geopolitical position and its trade with India and Pakistan. It has an influential foothold in Jammu and Kashmir. Aksai Chin, which roughly forms 20% of Jammu and Kashmir, is the land claimed by India but controlled by China. China occupied Aksai Chin in 1962 war and has retained control over the region.
As a friendly neighbour, it has promoted peace talks between the two countries as China knows it cannot go far in supporting one nation. It has diplomatically put the onus on both New Delhi and Islamabad.
The extent of China’s Influence:
It has been observed that China currently is investing $60 billion in Pakistani infrastructure and energy projects, which is more than any other South Asian country. The initial investment plan was $46 billion back in 2015. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project also throws light on their trade relations. Hence, their ties cannot be derailed.
Nevertheless, the main aim of China to pumped huge investment into Pakistan is to have an opening in the Indian Ocean through the Gwadar port of Pakistan. China had exhibited repeated interest in Gwadar port in the late 1990s and started its reconstruction in 2002. For China to reach Gwadar, in the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan, it had to establish a passage through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Similarly, it is difficult to say that the Kashmir issue will affect India-China relations, as some analysts observed the maturity between their leaders in the realm of cooperation.
After all, India is the primary importer of Chinese goods. India-China economic relation grew in the 1990s and 2000s. Currently, the bilateral trade size between China and India is expected to cross $100 billion in 2019 with India recording a deficit of $53 billion for 2018.
In contrast, the volume of annual China-Pakistan trade is around $15 billion. China requires India more for economic well-being and Pakistan to hold a strategic advantage. This explained why China changed its stand on Kashmir from aggressively pro-Pakistan to “neutral”.
Now reports state that with the construction of CPEC has made China, a huge stakeholder in Kashmir. India has maintained that entire Jammu and Kashmir as its constituent part. The merger of Jammu and Kashmir with India was legally upheld in the UN, as stated in the first resolution on the issue. However, now, China is also deeply entrenched in Kashmir. Moreover, this is not limited to the cold desert of Aksai Chin, having a population of fewer than 10,000 people.
The Unanswered Questions
There are some unanswered questions which can only be given a thought. Will India and Pakistan go for the war, or they will end up cooperating? Will China be able to back any one country? Is India under threat from China as well? Think about it.