(ReliableNews.org) – China actively exploits countries all over the world for its own gain under the veil of “friendship.” Earlier we covered how it does this with Pakistan, an important region for trade and access to the Middle East. However, Pakistan is just one part of the three-way battle for another heavily-contested area: Kashmir.
Just east of the Pakistani border, sandwiched between it, India, and China, claims over the Kashmir region have been disputed for nearly a century. The results have left civilians in the area struggling for their lives. COVID-19 is just icing on the cake. How did it all start and why is this conflict important?
Origins of Kashmir
This story goes back to 1947 with the division of British India. The result of the British empire relinquishing control over British India was the formation of India and Pakistan. Specifically, there was a dispute over the then-state of Jammu and Kashmir. This resulted in multiple wars and even more skirmishes between India and Pakistan.
The conflict rages on today, primarily between India and Pakistan as each of them vie both militarily and politically to control more territory. However, the Kashmir region also borders on a portion of China. Naturally, the Chinese government wants a piece.
What’s Happening Today
Naturally, Chinese armed forces are using this opportunity to gain control over more territory and keep a foothold in the region. In late April, roughly 5,000 Chinese troops marched their way into the eastern part of Kashmir that borders with China: Ladakh. This section of land is currently held in part by India, making this a show of force against one of the world’s largest populations and economies.
Additionally, China is using this opportunity to send troops to another India-China disputed border area, Sikkim. Sikkim is located in India’s northeastern section, far away from Kashmir.
As these three powers continue fighting for control of more land, Kashmir citizens are suffering. On top of this decades-old dispute, Kashmir is riddled with terrorist activity and struggling to deal with COVID-19. The residents’ squalid situation is being exploited by all parties and their livelihoods are being destroyed in the process.
There are ways in which India is taking advantage of the chaos.
The Bottom Line
There’s no easy solution to the issues Kashmir faces. Neither Pakistan or India are angels and there would still be substantial issues if either one gained control. China, for now, seems to be playing both sides against the middle waiting for an opportunity to make an easy land grab.
While the Kashmir region may seem of little importance, it’s a part of a much larger story. China is making moves all across the globe to try and assert dominance. We’re seeing it with Hong Kong, Pakistan, and now with Kashmir. As China attempts to tighten its grip over regions leading into the Middle East, it’s setting the stage for a potential escalation where the US has had a presence for almost two decades.
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