Both Pakistan and China have kept the borders hot, taking advantage of the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19
Just when one thought that the devastation caused by the Coronavirus would unite the world in taming it and lead to a broader humanitarian spirit, geopolitics has inevitably come in play. In the middle of its toughest battle against the disease, India is facing a diplomatic standoff with its neighbours, namely Pakistan and China. Looks like the two all-weather friends have timed a pincer grip on India at its weakest moment to stare down at us diplomatically. Relations with Pakistan have gone further downhill during the pandemic as our western neighbour has not let up on exporting terrorism and escalating skirmishes along the borders. In fact, there has been an upward spike in cross-border infiltration since last year. According to Indian Army data, there were 411 ceasefire violations by Pakistan’s military in March, the highest number in a single month since 2018. This year itself, in 127 days, as many as 55 terrorists have been killed, which means roughly one encounter every two days. Besides, Pakistan-backed militants are making sustained attempts to infiltrate into India via the international border in the Jammu region, Punjab and the long coastline of Gujarat. With India busy tackling the pandemic, masterminds across the border have been using its preoccupation as an opportune time to divert us. Yesterday, top intelligence sources reported that the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba had joined hands with Pakistan-based don Dawood Ibrahim to repeat an attack similar to the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike. Encounters, too, have seen a steep rise. There have been reports of the Pakistan Army smuggling weapons from across the borders with the use of drones. With all trading activities suspended along the Line of Control, its tried and tested formula of using the narco-terror model to raise funds for terrorists is now futile. Other developments, like the US’ move to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, has emboldened it, too, as it sees itself as a strategic counterweight in our backyard. Of course, we weren’t caught off guard. The gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo came as a big blow to militancy in Kashmir and was yet another example of how misguided youths in the Valley continue to be used to fulfil the Pakistani agenda.
Although India has not been aggressive in its public stance against China despite the global flak the latter has drawn over the virus and the faulty test kits that it shipped here, China has not taken kindly to the Government’s rightful move of preventing takeovers of our companies by its corporations during the low economic troughs. So it has resorted to its old trope of renewing border hostilities at Ladakh and Sikkim and claiming rights over undisputed territories. Though both sides simmered down, the scuffles between the two nations’ armies have deepened the general distrust of China. Our preparedness has to be taut regardless of what ails us.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)