Geopolitical challenge for India

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Geopolitical challenge for India


December 03, 2020

Throughout its history India has been confronted with unique challenges that required similar and unique solutions. The unique challenges include border disputes between India and Pakistan and India and China. China has always tended to favour Pakistan throughout the history of India and Pakistan since separation. Again China has tended to undermine India’s authority and control along the Sino Indian border. China has also tried to oppose India at several other international meets.

Pakistan and India got separated in a very acrimonious separation at the time of independence in 1947. Since then Pakistan has continued to disturb India along the border and otherwise. Kashmir has been the biggest cause of enmity between India and Pakistan. Kashmir was a hotly contested issue even at the time of independence. According to the planning at the time of partition Kashmir was free to go to India as well as Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir wanted Kashmir to remain independent. Tribesmen from Pakistan invaded Kashmir and Maharaja Hari Singh got help from India. A war began and India approached the United Nations. The United Nations recommended holding of a plebiscite or a public referendum to decide whether Kashmir would accede to India or Pakistan. An agreement was made between India and Pakistan in 1949. A decision was made to develop a Line of Actual Control between the two regions of Kashmir that belonged to India and Pakistan. Another war was fought between India and Pakistan in 1965. A third conflict occurred between the two countries in 1999.

Article 370 was imposed on Kashmir. Article 370 of the constitution (which was revoked in 2019) gave Kashmir a special status. Due to this Kashmir got a separate constitution and a separate flag. Kashmir’s citizens lived under a separate set of laws. These laws included laws related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights. All these laws were separate and different from the laws for citizens of other states of India. Citizens of others states of India could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir. India’s rulers could only formulate laws for Kashmir that related to defence, foreign affairs and communications.

On the other hand China and its relations with India have also been a talking point and sometimes deeply disturbing. Border disputes between India and China have been an almost regular phenomenon and part of their relationship. There have been three wars with China. They have been the Sino Indian war of 1962, the Chola war of 1967, and the Sino Indian war of 1987. Since the late 1980s there has been a good build up of bilateral relationship between the two countries. China has tried to increase its dominance with the help of programs like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Belt and Road Initiative is a policy backed by the Chinese government to build a network of overland roads and a network of shipping lanes. Potentially this network will help China to increase trade with other countries. Along with that this will also help China to increase its dominance in the world. This project will therefore potentially help it to increase dominance over India also. The result of all these initiatives by China has been the fact that there have been trade imbalances with India in favour of China. Another result has been the fact that there has been a build up of both the Chinese and Indian armies along the India China border.

Due to these efforts of China and Pakistan, India has had to deal with these two countries along its North Western and North Eastern borders. China and Pakistan have become all weather friends. This has been compounded by the fact that India follows a policy of dealing with what it can rather than what it should. This way several topics of foreign policy of India get left out. India has not been able to engage properly with its neighbours on either foreign policy or trade issues. These matters need to be dealt with before India can think of itself as a superpower in the world.

 

Throughout its history India has been confronted with unique challenges that required similar and unique solutions. The unique challenges include border disputes between India and Pakistan and India and China. China has always tended to favour Pakistan throughout the history of India and Pakistan since separation. Again China has tended to undermine India’s authority and control along the Sino Indian border. China has also tried to oppose India at several other international meets.

        

         Pakistan and India got separated in a very acrimonious separation at the time of independence in 1947. Since then Pakistan has continued to disturb India along the border and otherwise. Kashmir has been the biggest cause of enmity between India and Pakistan. Kashmir was a hotly contested issue even at the time of independence. According to the planning at the time of partition Kashmir was free to go to India as well as Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir wanted Kashmir to remain independent. Tribesmen from Pakistan invaded Kashmir and Maharaja Hari Singh got help from India. A war began and India approached the United Nations. The United Nations recommended holding of a plebiscite or a public referendum to decide whether Kashmir would accede to India or Pakistan. An agreement was made between India and Pakistan in 1949. A decision was made to develop a Line of Actual Control between the two regions of Kashmir that belonged to India and Pakistan. Another war was fought between India and Pakistan in 1965. A third conflict occurred between the two countries in 1999.

 

         Article 370 was imposed on Kashmir. Article 370 of the constitution (which was revoked in 2019) gave Kashmir a special status. Due to this Kashmir got a separate constitution and a separate flag. Kashmir’s citizens lived under a separate set of laws. These laws included laws related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights. All these laws were separate and different from the laws for citizens of other states of India. Citizens of others states of India could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir. India’s rulers could only formulate laws for Kashmir that related to defence, foreign affairs and communications.

 

         On the other hand China and its relations with India have also been a talking point and sometimes deeply disturbing. Border disputes between India and China have been an almost regular phenomenon and part of their relationship. There have been three wars with China. They have been the Sino Indian war of 1962, the Chola war of 1967, and the Sino Indian war of 1987. Since the late 1980s there has been a good build up of bilateral relationship between the two countries. China has tried to increase its dominance with the help of programs like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Belt and Road Initiative is a policy backed by the Chinese government to build a network of overland roads and a network of shipping lanes. Potentially this network will help China to increase trade with other countries. Along with that this will also help China to increase its dominance in the world. This project will therefore potentially help it to increase dominance over India also. The result of all these initiatives by China has been the fact that there have been trade imbalances with India in favour of China. Another result has been the fact that there has been a build up of both the Chinese and Indian armies along the India China border.

 

         Due to these efforts of China and Pakistan, India has had to deal with these two countries along its North Western and North Eastern borders. China and Pakistan have become all weather friends. This has been compounded by the fact that India follows a policy of dealing with what it can rather than what it should. This way several topics of foreign policy of India get left out. India has not been able to engage properly with its neighbours on either foreign policy or trade issues. These matters need to be dealt with before India can think of itself as a superpower in the world.

 

 
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