India is not Alone in Facing China’s Cross Border Conflict
The conflicted border between India and China is called LAC (Line of Actual Control). Unlike LOC which is the border that India shares with Pakistan, this line (LAC) is not clearly demarcated. Tension in this area is a usual affair as soldiers from both the countries patrol the region. On June 19, 2020 Chinese and Indian forces came face to face while disengaging the location which resulted in the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers. Now here is the catch, China not only claims the disputed area but also Galwan valley of Ladakh. As the valley is on a highland, this gives China great military strategic advantage over India.
However, India is not alone in facing China’s cross border terrorism. China shares its border with more than 14 countries and has transborder claims with most of them. Be it sea border dispute, land dispute or claiming an entire country as theirs, People’s Republic of China is clearly an expansionist country.
Most turbulent of its claim is on the island country of Taiwan. Taiwan is the place from which the previous Republic of China lost its civil war to communist forces and retreated. They left behind a few Islands with Taiwan including Kinmen Island, the Wuqiu islands, the Penghu islands, and the Matsu Islands. At Various instances, China has been accused of intimidating Taiwan by launching test missiles and conducting military air force exercises around the island.
Senkaku islands of Japan hold great strategic importance to China. Once controlled by America just after world war II, they were returned to Japan once again. Recent discovery of oil reserves in the mostly uninhabited island has also increased its economic value.
Although now friendly neighbours, Pakistan too once had border disputes with China. Both the countries claimed the land across their mountainous borders. This ended in a peaceful resolvement where Pakistan ceded a portion of the disputed territory to China, while China recognised Pakistan’s control over the remaining.
South China Sea Conflict
This conflict originates for two island groups, the Paracel islands and the Spratly islands. China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, The Philippines, and Taiwan all lay claim on parts or all of the region, with each establishing a military presence in a part of its area.
The south China sea is incredibly rich in natural resources with a large number of oil reserves, natural gas reserves and of course marine life resources. But that is not it, more than 30% of world trade sea routes pass through this water body making it an important region. China has been building military bases on reefs by converting them into islands. As of now it has six such bases in the south China sea. As a result, threatened by this, other countries like the United States and its allies have increased military exercises in the area.
Today China has border conflict with every nation with whom it shares a land or sea border, from Japan to Indonesia and India ironically has good relations with all these nations and regularly engages in drills with them. China might find a friend only in Pakistan. What India can do is diplomatically unite with these countries and lead in cornering China regarding its aggressive policies in the United Nations. It would not only ambush China internationally but also raise India’s international power.