India-China Border Tensions: Standoff in eastern Ladakh

September 3, 2020 4:40 PM

The Indian Think Tanks are probably discussing the need for a `face-saving ‘for the Chinese to go back to the April 2020 deployment. The Communist Party is ruthless, the Western Theatre Commander who shot to fame overnight as Xi Jinping’s delivery man, may find himself facing the firing squad.

The Chinese having activated the LAC, physical clash at Galwan on 15th June and now the standoff in Eastern Ladakh on night 29/30 August 2020 (Reuters file image)

By Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd)

India historically is a nation which is not aggressive and believes in peaceful co-existence with its neighbours. India has so far not launched any operations to regain Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. In 1965 and 1971 it returned captured territories.

In 1999 the rogue action by Pakistan when it occupied the heights along the Srinagar – Kargil – Leh Highway — found out to its grief that India as a Nation and the Indian Army, in particular, displayed great valour and courage to climb the arduous heights and launch a frontal attack to evict and regain control. This was carried out at an extreme cost and bravery was redefined by the Brave hearts who raised the bar of professionalism to a new height.

The Chinese Government and PLA, in particular, have since 1962 has taken for granted that the Indian Government and the Indian Army, in particular, would remain a silent spectator to the Chinese land grabbing. The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) is an instrument which became the guide for resolving the LAC issues at the political and diplomatic level.

Before the BDCA agreement was signed in 2013, India and China have signed bilateral agreements in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2012. The Chinese have used this treacherously to indicate that it wishes “Peace and Tranquillity” at the borders.

The Chinese intrusions on an average have been 600 times annually as reported in the media. It’s never shared maps on its perception of the LAC and has claimed its territories along the entire length of the LAC as per an ever-changing perception.

The Chinese having activated the LAC, physical clash at Galwan on 15th June and now the standoff in Eastern Ladakh on night 29/30 August 2020; the occupation of key heights or in Military Parlance the Ground of Tactical Importance (GTI) has ensured that the Indian Defensive Posture is strengthened and gives domination to the Indian Army with a direct field of fire and observation into the depth localities of the Chinese defences. Having occupied these heights it should not vacate them now as it would be at a very heavy cost to regain the same at a later date. The Chinese will use every trick in the book to regain the same, and the Indian Government should be equally defiant and diplomatic of maintaining a status quo.

The Ladakh Region is under media watch, it can be reasonably speculated that similar actions would have been assessed along the LAC. Though no shots have been fired, it can be assumed that neither side wants to make it an active LAC.

The Chinese interest globally is at stake as it engages with its friends in the region – the fear of becoming an unwilling ally under an economic debt would be rankling the conscience of such countries.

The Quad and the South China Sea is another crown of thorns on the Chinese head. Any action by the Chinese Navy in the region will find the Chinese Merchant Vessels at the mercy of the Quad, choking its fossil fuel needs amongst other requirements.

The recession, joblessness, floods, hunger, collapsing of its infrastructure, the Uighurs in the detention centres are many issues that worry the Chinese leadership.

The diaspora of the Tibetan Refugees in India so far have been recruited and trained as part of the regular Indian Army. Its food for thought, with International Support, the pillars of the PLA can well be exploited, as has been done in the past. Afghanistan is a classic case study.

A pack of hyenas can easily target and bring down a prey much larger in size. A dragon too has its dead zones and vulnerabilities. These need to be targeted with a view to letting the Chinese leadership learn its weaknesses, bit by bit.

China aims to become a predominant leader of the world by 2035; however, the Western world, as well as the countries in Asia, will not accept this. Because of its liberal policies of funding Africa and creating huge debt traps, China is not welcome in that continent too.

Therefore, the options of hurting the Chinese interests are not limited to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) only. Many nations are watching keenly the situation on this side of the globe and the Chinese behaviour.

A strong leadership, funding and recruitment, warlike stores and motivated young men and women and their families and the use of modern technologies would cause the necessary damage without escalation to a conventional or nuclear strike.

The Indian Think Tanks are probably discussing the need for a `face-saving ‘for the Chinese to go back to the April 2020 deployment. The Communist Party is ruthless, the Western Theatre Commander who shot to fame overnight as Xi Jinping’s delivery man, may find himself facing the firing squad.

A good military leader not only takes the fight back to the enemy’s territory but should offer the enemy political leadership a scapegoat for saving their face. The aberration of the Chinese needs correction at their end and they know best how to deal with it.

India should remain steadfast and honour the dozens of Indo China, bilateral agreements.

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