China and Pakistan Warn India After 'Unacceptable' Border Moves That Threaten New Clashes

China and Pakistan have both issued warnings to India over recent moves to assert control over disputed border regions that have previously led to clashes with its neighbors.

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the repeal of Article 370 granting special autonomy to the stretch of Kashmir located on its side of contested borders with China and Pakistan, Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah introduced bills naming both the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its Ladakh region as separate union territories to be governed directly by the central government. The sudden change in a decades-long arrangement was hailed by Shah as a "historic decision" but it elicited negative reactions from both Beijing and Islamabad, which have grown closer in recent years and have separately engaged in heated confrontations with New Delhi.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press briefing Tuesday that her country was "always opposed to India's inclusion of the Chinese territory in the western sector of the China-India boundary into its administrative jurisdiction," referring to the Aksai Chin area that was claimed by India but was controlled by China in western Xinjiang and Tibet.

"Recently India has continued to undermine China's territorial sovereignty by unilaterally changing its domestic law," she added. "Such practice is unacceptable and will not come into force. We urge India to exercise prudence in words and deeds concerning the boundary question, strictly abide by relevant agreements concluded between the two sides and avoid taking any move that may further complicate the boundary question."

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A security personnel stands guard at a roadblock during a curfew in Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley region of India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, August 6, 2019. Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah hailed "historic" legislation to bring Kashmir under the government's direct control as New Delhi stepped up its clampdown on dissent in the restive Muslim-majority region. TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images

China and India most recently neared a border conflict in summer 2017 at a separate point of contention known as Doklam to India and Donglang to China. The trilateral junction borders India's Sikkim State, China's Tibet region and Bhutan's Ha Valley. New Delhi accused Beijing of disregarding the tiny Himalayan kingdom by building a new highway, leading to hand-to-hand clashes between Indian and Chinese personnel, but no armed skirmishes.

The two managed to de-escalate the situation, but nationalist rhetoric continued to resurface the incident on occasion. China and India have a history of engaging in all-out hostilities over their border feud, especially in the 1960s when the pair fought deadly conflicts over both frontlines.

Much of India's troubled history with borders, however, has focused on rival Pakistan, which was established after the United Kingdom's 1947 partition of India and that quickly led to the first of several wars between the two South Asian states. Two more of these conflicts in 1965 and 1999 were directly borne out of competing claims to the divided territory of Kashmir, while another in 1971 involved India's support for the independence of East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh.

Bloody clashes have continued between Indian and Pakistani forces at the Kashmir frontier, where Islamist militant groups that New Delhi accuses Islamabad of backing have also established a presence. One such group, the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for a February suicide bombing that killed dozens of Indian personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama. The bombing led India to conduct rare cross-border strikes on suspected insurgent camps, a Pakistani retaliatory attack and a dogfight that led to the loss of an Indian fighter jet whose pilot was later returned as a peace gesture.

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A map published in 2002 shows India's disputed borders at the Line of Control with Pakistan and Line of Actual Control with China. Central Intelligence Agency

In a policy statement delivered Tuesday to a joint session of his country's parliament, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan dismissed Indian allegations that Islamabad was involved in the February suicide attack in Pulwama and argued that Modi had rejected his diplomatic overtures since the Indian leader's reelection in May. With Kashmir's reclassification, he warned "there will be another Pulwama-style incident and India will again accuse Pakistan of having terrorists coming from Pakistan, while we have nothing to do with it."

Khan said he feared such a series of events could escalate into a nuclear war between the two countries of which "no one will be the winner," but argued for a need to defend Kashmiris as he accused Modi's ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party and the influential Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organization — of which the Indian leader was once a member — of pursuing a "racist ideology."

The Pakistani premier called for international support in resolving the situation in Kashmir, which has only deteriorated in the two weeks since Khan sat down at the White House with President Donald Trump, who appeared to claim that Modi asked him to mediate in the decades-long dispute. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar later said that "no such request has been made," though Trump's potential role was welcomed by the Pakistani side, which argued Monday that its rival's recent Kashmir decision did not abide by the United Nations "nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan."

Responding to the apparent rejection of his role by India, Trump said Friday that "it's really up to Prime Minister Modi," calling both him and Khan "fantastic people" who "can get along very well."

He said, "if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene."