The Sino-India boundary resolution | The Financial Express

The Sino-India boundary resolution

The disengagement at Patrol Point 15 was seen as a step toward the normalisation of ties between India and China. However, strategic China-Pakistan collusive partnership has brought in a whole new equation, with much more expanded assistance in multi-domain expected from China even in case of an Indo-Pak war.

The Sino-India boundary resolution
Image Credit: Indian Army

Lt Col Manoj K Channan

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet happened, the world leaders got together and the much-awaited meeting on the side-lines of the summit between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi did not take place.

Towards the build-up to the summit, much was being speculated on whether the two leaders would be able to re-ignite the bonhomie that was shown in the years prior to Covid.

The disengagement at Patrol Point 15 was seen as a step toward the normalization of ties between the two countries. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a demarcation which was left by the British as the McMahon line is a demarcation line between Tibet and the North-east region of India proposed by British colonial administrator Sir Henry McMahon at the 1914 Simla Convention signed between British and Tibetan representatives.

The vast tract of inhospitable land has negligible villages on our side of the LAC, the Tibetan side has some scattered villages on their side. The Indian Army has been patrolling along the perceived LAC. Since the environment pre-2020 PLA intrusions were of peace and tranquillity, the salami slicing, by the PLA in the garb of training exercises caught India by surprise.

The force levels available as of date do not allow any aggressive defensive posture to be undertaken. The term patrolling point is a reference point on the map to which a long-range patrol goes and comes back to its operating base.

Defence, when occupied, are planned and the area is dominated by an effective fire plan as well as other measures are undertaken to prevent any surprises by the enemy.

While the hawks have been suggesting that India should be taking a more aggressive stance towards the PLA, I would like to draw the attention of the readers to some factual realities which are often quoted at various seminars/webinars.

Read More: Disengagement, SCO Meet and Beyond

I quote Lt Gen PR Kumar, who wrote a series of articles in July 2020, a three-part article. It has three parts and those following the subject should read these.

Important International and National Security Truisms-

“-No permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interest’; at best we may obtain intelligence, material and moral support; WE NEED TO BE PREPARED TO FIGHT ALONE.

-Blurred distinctions between war and peace, and tactical to strategic operations.

-Deterrence potency of even global powers has diminished, impacting their capabilities to dictate global affairs.

-Non-kinetic verticals often stay below the nation’s red lines, and defy attributability, making proportionate response difficult.

-Hostile remote LC/LAC regions provide the impetus for adventurism.

-Lack of a formal written/promulgated India’s strategic doctrine/National Security Strategy (NSS).”

The now permanent, strategic China-Pakistan collusive partnership has brought in a whole new equation, with much more expanded assistance in multi-domain expected from China even in case of an Indo-Pak war, and also waging a proxy war. 

While the above is true, it is also pertinent to know our Comprehensive National Power (CNP) which comprises of the national security apparatus, economic positioning, military modernization and jointness amongst the three services in the form of Theatre Commands which is a work in progress and probably in suspended animation till a CDS is appointed by the Government of India.

Secretary of the US Army Christine Wormuth speaking at the Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Benning, GA, described a fighting force that must be more lethal, mobile and protected in order to successfully fight against near-peer threats like China or Russia. She focused on the following issues that the US army / any army would have to dwell upon to fight and win future battles.

“Here are the 6 areas the Army must be prepared for in 2030 – Breaking Defense

– The ability to “see” the battlefield at all times.

-Coordination at greater speed.

-Win the fires fight.

-Hiding on the battlefield.

-Talk often and quickly.

-Professionals talk logistics.”

Having given out briefly what it entails to be an effective modern defence service, it is important to understand that the actions of the Government of India are pragmatic and nuanced in reality and not wrapped in jingoism and nationalistic fervor.

On issues of National Security, it is advisable that our political leaders have to be on the same page and should not be seen doing politics on winning the next round of elections. For us in India as a Nation, it is a “Work in Progress”; as we are in the process of shifting gears to achieve our CNP as mentioned above. Care has to be taken that personnel appointed in critical organizations need to be domain and subject matter experts and not political appointees to curry favours which will defeat the very purpose of modernization.

India should continue to engage with China diplomatically, the border talks should continue in Moldo/Chushul. The events of the CCP on October 16, 2022 at Beijing and the possible third term of President Xi Jinping and his views would indicate what the next several years will impact countries globally. The Presidential elections in the US will determine how the US engages in maintaining it’s unipolar supremacy. The conflict in Ukraine and the see-saw of events there would determine the status of NATO. The cutting of the gas supply to Europe by Russia will be indicative of how the leadership manages their population through the harsh winters.

India has to walk the path and our EAM Dr S Jaishankar is doing a great job of calling out the hypocrisy of the West. India has done well to remain non-aligned and has balanced its bilateral relationships well, notwithstanding the storm in the international arena.

India should remain optimistic in its approach, in the years ahead.

Author is an Indian Army Veteran.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited.

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