BORDER THREATS .. China, Pakistan itching for a fight with India; unprovoked firing along western border by Pakistani troops


NEW DELHI: A step-up in tensions along the western and northern borders in recent days raises the prospect of a military engagement leading to a full-scale, two-front war between India on one side and China and Pakistan on the other sides.

Pakistani troops violated ceasefire Friday night by unprovoked firing and mortar shelling on civilian areas along the Line of Control and International Border in two sectors of Jammu and Kashmir, PTI news agency reported on Saturday, quoting Indian military officials.

The officials said Indian troops retaliated befittingly to silence the Pakistani guns. “At about 1:30 am, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars, targeting civilian areas along the LoC in Makote sector of Poonch,” a defence spokesman stated.

The Pakistani offensive came also in the backdrop of a US assertion that China is bent on provoking India sooner than later. China, US noted, has amassed as high as 60,000 troops along the LAC, targeting India.

While the heavy shelling caused fear and panic among the border residents, it stopped around 4.30am. Pakistani rangers targeted forward areas along the IB in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district and kept firing intermittently for five hours. The firing from Pakistani side of the IB started around 11.45pm Friday and the Border Security Force (BSF) retaliated.

US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has stated that China is getting ready for a confrontation with India. The foreign ministers from the Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad group — the US, Japan, India and Australia — met in Tokyo on Tuesday last, in their first in-person talks since the coronavirus pandemic began. The meeting took place in the context of China’s aggressive military behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

 “The Indians are seeing 60,000 Chinese soldiers on their northern border,” Pompeo told The Guy Benson Show in an interview on Friday after his return from Tokyo after attending the second Quad ministerial with his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia.

“I was with my foreign minister counterparts from India, Australia, and Japan – a format that we call the Quad, four big democracies, four powerful economies, four nations, each of whom has real risk associated with the threats imposed – attempting to be imposed by the Chinese Communist Party. And they see it in their home countries too,” he said.

Pompeo said his meeting with Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar in Tokyo was “productive.” “The people of the Quad nations are understanding that we all slept on this for too long. For decades, the West allowed the Chinese Communist Party to walk all over us.  The previous administration bent a knee, too often allowed China to steal our intellectual properties and the millions of jobs that came along with it. They see the same in their country too,” he said in the interview.

The top US official said “time has come for us to accept that talks with China will not help.” However, with the US set on presidential polls, and a change of government by January next, the Trump administration cannot take things far now. The regional powers expecting help from the US to control China will have to wait and see how the US polls turn out to be. 

A return of the Trump administration might mean a strong stand against China; but if Joe Biden of the Democratic party wins the presidential polls, he might adopt a soft stand towards China. In fact, China is waiting for this precise moment to take on India. A confrontation could take take place in this interregnum, when the Trump administration is on a lame-duck mode. It no more can take strong decisions as the nation is in an election mode. IHN-NN


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