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China, India, Pakistan: who’s really pulling the strings in Jammu and Kashmir?


The media spotlight on India-Pakistan tensions over the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has helped obscure the role of a key third party, China, which occupies one-fifth of this Himalayan region. Kashmir is only a small slice of J&K, whose control is split among China, India and Pakistan.


Sino-Indian border tensions were exemplified by a reported September 11-12 clash between troops from the two countries in the eastern section of J&K, where Beijing’s territorial revisionism has persisted for more than six decades.


Meanwhile, ever since India revoked the statehood and autonomy of its part of J&K in August, Pakistan has stepped up its bellicose rhetoric, with military-backed Prime Minister Imran Khan vowing to “teach India a lesson” and promising a “fight until the end”. Khan has even raised the threat of nuclear war with India.


The power behind Pakistan, however, is China. As Pakistan has sought to grab more J&K territory from India, China has escalated military pressure along the region’s eastern flank with India.


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