Latitude: India’s troubling legacy: Border disputes

A troubling legacy that India inherited at Independence was a border disputes with neighbours China and Pakistan. These has led to conflicts in the past and is till even today at the heart of India’s diplomatic and security challenges. All though India and China share a 4,000 kilometer land boundary that runs from Jammu Kashmir’s northern tip up to Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese recognise only 2,000 kilometers of the border, contesting India’s claims over Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. Over the years China has adopted multi pronged strategy to check India’s rise, most importantly by encircling India with its naval presence in the region and by strengthening Pakistan with supplies nuclear technology, missiles and now with the promise of $46 billion investment. It is Pakistan that has been greater and constant distraction for India’s leadership since Independence with Kashmir being the flash point over which India and Pakistan have gone to war in 1965 and then over the Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. By 1984, as Pakistan began supporting terrorism first in Punjab, and then in Jammu and Kashmir, both sides were also engaged in another conflict to gain control of the Siachen glacier that lay beyond the Line of Control in no man’s land. And despite efforts by politicians on both sides to negotiate a peaceful settlement over Kashmir, the Pakistan Army has had no incentive to seek peace with India.

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