Holding one of the G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir is a bold, audacious and timely move. It is possible because of the ceasefire along the Line of Control which has been holding since February 25, 2021. The new geopolitical setting offers India an opportunity to diplomatically disdain the Chinese, camping not too far away in the un-demarcated border areas with India.
Border regions and communities, some of them far from the heartland, constitute India’s first line of defence, a critical link in its national security. India’s 15,000-km borders touch seven neighbouring countries: Afghanistan (abutting Gilgit), Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar. Border regions have their own local dynamics, often shaped by subnational and religious identities that do not necessarily align neatly with political borders. Some also serve as flourishing corridors for illegal smuggling of goods and humans. Technology plays an important role in better protecting borders, but in some cases it has made borders obsolete. Despite their importance, border regions do not receive the full attention of the Indian mainstream, except when border tensions arise.