By Lt Col Manoj K Channan, Veteran
The fourteenth round of talks were held on 12th January 2022. The expectations are many as there are many differences as perceptions are different of the respective governments. The basic one is that the Indian Government wants to address the issues holistically across the board, whereas China is keen to address the issues one by one and de-link the issues. In this case, this has to be driven top down by the Political Leadership as this would involve “a give and take”; the question is how much each side is prepared.
The Indian Army Chief of Army Staff, in his annual press conference has stated that the border issues need to be resolved; war is the last option and the Indian Army is prepared.
But will a war really resolve the boundary issue?
Not really, as muscle flexing and testing the resolve of the adversary and mind games across the board are a dynamic process, it needs a watchful eye to ensure that a minor incident doesn’t spiral out of control.
Now that India has mirrored the Chinese deployment, the push to develop the infrastructure has been the focus so far. China in addition has been developing the border villages and creating grounds to stake claims to the disputed territories.
On 23rd October 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) first dedicated law titled Land Borders Law which lays down provisions for border protection and integration of border areas. It has 62 articles and seven chapters. The law is belligerent and is not taking into account the viewpoint of its neighbours.
By legislation of this law, it has created legitimacy on the disputed territories, thus arm twisting a weak neighbour to accept its point of view. This in a way lays down rigidity on itself and leaves no room for negotiations as it’s the “my way or highway” approach.
CCP/PLA hired actors to depict flag raising at Galwan, the fake images of PLA soldiers in Summer Uniform was a dead giveaway. The Indian Army ADGPI gave a quick riposte on posting the picture of Indian Army soldiers at ground zero at Galwan.
India needs to be watchful of not falling into this race as the economic cost will be too high. The Chinese economy may be a shade better but nevertheless, it is burdened by its trillion-dollar NPA’s and in its quest to de-throne as the only superpower of the globe, it has spread it self-thin and thus exposing many of its vulnerabilities.
India by itself may not be able to match the Chinese on a global platform; however, it can squeeze the sea lines of communications through its domination, effectively by itself. The naval exercises with friendly foreign countries are effective in keeping the PLA Navy under check.
Under the current circumstances, it would be pertinent to remain alert and thwart the PLA attempts to gain moral ascendancy. Indian Defence Forces will remain deployed and have to work out plans of rotation of troops, the pandemic challenges, rest and recreation as the Line of Actual control is cold desolate terrain and its immense natural beauty wears off fast when deployed for long periods of time.
(The author is an Indian Army Veteran. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited).