Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Experts believe that military disputes between Chinese and Indian troops in the disputed Himalayan region in Kashmir have succeeded in making this region of South Asia a hotspot most dangerous in the new cold war between Beijing and its rival in Asia supported by the United States (US).
By deploying troops into the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the northernmost Kashmir region claimed by India, China is considered to have significantly increased the tension of pre-existing disputes between India and Pakistan that sparked further conflict in South Asia.
This was revealed by these experts, in the Week In Asia rubric, reported by the South China Morning Post, in a series of interviews.
On Monday (16/6/2020), twenty Indian soldiers, including an officer, were killed in a brutal open-air battle in the Galwan Valley.
Photo: Indians trampling on a statue of Chinese President Xi Jinping that caught fire during protests against China in Ahmedabad, India (AP / Ajit Solanki)
India says the Chinese side also suffered casualties, but the Chinese government has not revealed the number of victims claimed by India. The clash was the culmination of tensions between the two countries in the Galwan Valley region, the Himalayas. For India, this dispute is in the Ladakh region. As for China, the region is called Aksai Chin, Xinjiang.
Ladakh is one of the three regions that are politically termed Kashmir, namely Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Its location in the northern sub-continent of India.
Why did the conflict with China then bring up Pakistan?
Tom Hussain, a journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan, and also known as a Pakistani political analyst, in his writing in the South China Morning Post, revealed the potential for conflict that could erupt between India and Pakistan.
Since India allegedly launched air strikes into militant training camps in Pakistan in February 2019, and separately annexing parts of Kashmir claimed in August, the ties of perpetual enemies in South Asia have been the most tense since they last fought in 1999.
History records, there was a Kargil War or the so-called Kargil Conflict. This armed conflict between India and Pakistan occurred in May and July 1999 in the Kargil District, Kashmir.
The trigger for this war was the entry of Pakistani troops and Kashmiri militants into Indian territory in the Line of Control (LOC). LOC is a border that is set accordingly de facto between the two countries.
Photo: Indian Army guarding Srinagar-Ladakh highway in Gagangeer, northeast of Srinagar, India (AP / Mukhtar Khan)
An Indian army soldier guards atop one of the vehicles as an army convoy moves on the Srinagar- Ladakh highway at Gagangeer, north-east of Srinagar, India, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Indian security forces said neither side fired any shots in the clash in the Ladakh region late Monday that was the first deadly confrontation on the disputed border between India and China since 1975. China said Wednesday that it is seeking a peaceful resolution to its Himalayan border dispute with India following the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the most violent confrontation in decades. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
India and Pakistan have a long historical relationship. India and Pakistan had been colonized by the British for decades. When India became independent on August 15, 1947, the British then relinquished control of India, then India split into a Hindu majority and Pakistan with an Islamic majority and became the Islamic Republic on March 23, 1956.
Formerly Pakistan was East Pakistan and West Pakistan, then East Pakistan separated from Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.
As a result of the escalating conflict in February 2019, the two sides summoned their respective ambassadors and suspended bilateral communication between the two countries last year. Even last week, the two expelled half of their country’s staff from their embassies in Islamabad and New Delhi through the espionage dispute.
With China entering the fight for Kashmir for the first time since China defeated India in the 1962 border war, experts believe the uproar between China, India and Pakistan is only a matter of time.
“I think of conflict [tiga negara] real possibility. For China, there is no incentive to start a war with India over Kashmir. But there is a bigger problem to deal with and about the area of Line of Actual Control [LAC] or Actual Control Lines are likely to be the trigger, “said Harsh V. Pant, professor of international relations at King’s College London, in charge of the South China Morning Post.
The LAC is an unspecified border line of 4,000 km between China and India, stretching from Ladakh in the west to Bhutan in the east.
Meanwhile, India’s disputed border with Pakistan in Kashmir is known as The Line of Control (LOC), bounded by the United Nations in 1949.
LOC refers to the military control line between the parts of Jammu and Kashmir controlled by India and Pakistan, a line that is not legally recognized as an international boundary, but as a border as a legal de facto. Previously known as Armistice Gars.
LOC and LAC are separated by the Karakoram Pass area, located just west of the Galwan Valley. On the other side, there is a gap located on the Siachen Glacier, an unspecified point to the most north of the LOC. The location is known to be the highest battleground in the world after a struggle for India in 1984 and sparked 20 years of fighting with Pakistan.
“We cannot divorce the Ladakh crisis from the Kashmir dispute. As long as the LAC is tense, and likely to be tense in the future, the LOC has the potential to become more heated,” said Michael Kugelman, senior South Asian colleague at the Wilson Center, the agency think tank based in Washington.
However, according to Rabia Akhtar, Director of the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research at the University of Lahore, there have been no signs of military collusion by China and Pakistan versus India in Kashmir.
“In theory, India might have been preparing for war two front, but there is no evidence to suggest that Pakistan and China are preparing for it or that interoperability [kapabilitas] is or is planned to fight such a war with India, “said Akhtar, who is also a member of the Pakistani Prime Minister’s advisory board Imran Khan on foreign affairs.
Speaking at a video conference last week, retired Lieutenant General Athar Abbas, a former chief military spokesman, said Pakistan was not interested in joining China to fight a two-front against India.
The reason, the conflict between the three nuclear weapons states will not be limited to these three countries, has the potential to expand, and is likely to escalate into a broader war involving the US and other powers.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), in its annual book published on June 15, said China, India and Pakistan continue to modernize their strategic weapons to anticipate threats arising from their rivals.