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Reason Of News:

The latest bloody territorial CHINA VS INDIA Clashes. Clash between two neighboring forces in remote Ladakh has enraptured the globe and led to a series of allegations on both sides over the facts. So why did the confrontation take place? And what are its implications, not just for two nations, but for Pakistan?

Present Day:

As in much of the world, coronavirus has been the actual game in India until recently. That improved when news of an issue that arises broke out on the evening of June 15 between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. Two weeks back, the news manages to rule the Indian airwaves. It makes little sense. China and India have a rocky history, and this new clash left 20 Indian soldiers, including 16 Bihar, leader of the clash team, dead. About 100 other troops in the company suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Three days after the clash, the PLA released 10 captured troops from the Indian Army, one to lieutenant colonel and three majors.

Just before the conflict in Galwan, Ladakh, on 15 June, after so many cycles of discussions between local commanders and at least two meetings at the level of major generals who did not settle the problems, India and China held lieutenant-general talks on 6 June. Reports indicated that its Chinese side led to Major General Liu Lin, commander of the Southern Xinjiang Military Region, declined to address the Chinese positions in Galwan.

Centered on the annotated map of Lt Gen H S Panag (originally carried by theprint.in) showing areas in and around Galwan Valley that have been protected by the PLA.

That was not beyond the organization especially to keep Galwan off the table. The PLA troops were placed on higher elevation in the sector at the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok Rivers. These structures of the international them the benefit of observing and, if possible, prohibiting India’s main communication line, the Durbak-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) Lane. Galwan thus develops a more than a significant advantage, which we shall shortly be addressing. In the area of operations, Hot Springs, south of Galwan, Pangong Tso, the large lake further south, and Demchok, the southern part point of the forward PLA deployments, are among the other locations where PLA troops have arrived. Could of these associated factors PLA a significant advantage and combined turn it into a theater advantage (see accompanying map). By the way, Pangong Tso is the lake where a Bollywood movie, 3 Idiots, filmed a song. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) passes across the lake with around one third on the western Indian side and the remainder on the Chinese side. Any study of the situation and possible deployments must also be seen at the operational, theater, and political-strategic stages.

WHAT is Being Said:

It is predicted that the Indian media, including several security experts, will blame China for invading Indian territory, west of both the LAC. This argument is false on two occasions: one, as per the UN Resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, India is in the illegal annexation of land, including Ladakh, where we are witnessing the current standoff between India and China; two, as defined by the Indians himself, the LAC is not clearly defined and both sides have their own line of claim—Indian patrols demonstrate their existence east of the LAC, while PLA patrols p. Ironically, China’s assertion that its soldiers are still on the Liaodong peninsula is in line with the point put forward by the Indian side, even by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also said in a televised speech that Chinese troops had not crossed the national sovereignty. Modi’s comment questioned the stance of his foreign affairs minister. Although there are various frameworks in which India and China intersect, another in the east, where the borders of Nepal end, this article will concentrate mainly on the western market, which again is East Ladakh and is reportedly a source of conflict.

Questions with Reasons:

Most Indian and abroad observers have sought to find out why the border has abruptly exploded. This topic is critical for several reasons: the clash of 15 June in Galwan is the second, but a more serious, incident in more than 45 years. Well before the Galwan incident, Indian and PLA personnel clashed on May 5/6 then on May 16/17 in the Pangong region. At least 72 Indian soldiers were wounded and 11 Mahar, the commanding officer of the company, suffered life-threatening injuries. On 7 September 1993, both parties entered into an arrangement that binds them to settle the boundary issue by diplomatic means, although it also notes that ‘both parties agree that references to the line of actual control in this Agreement do not influence their current sides on the dodged bullet.’ The 1993 Framework was strengthened by more detailed clauses of the 1996 Treaty.

The new deal is the Border Security Partnership Agreement of 2013 (BDCA). On 23 October, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to sign BDCA in the midst of a walk-in Depsang, Daulat Beg Oldie (northwest of Galwan). By 2019, India and China had traded $85 billion, with both sides committed to growing trade rates, and China helping India to minimize its $50 billion trade deficit. Overall, relations between the two have strengthened since former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s trip to Beijing in 1988.

Why Now and What Happened?

There are numerous explanations for China’s assertive behavior. The most preferred by observers, in India and elsewhere, is the claim that China has reacted to India’s development of its communications infrastructure along the LAC. Most of these analyzes say that this is what China has been doing for a long time on its hands and that India has responded now that it has taken a leaf out of China’s playbook. Standalone, this statement is a lazy way out of a more difficult situation. Its importance, though, improves if you add it to other innovations that integrate improved capabilities with intentions. Find the following:

In 2008, India reopened the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) airbase. It had been deserted during the 1962 war with China when the troops deployed there had just left the helter-skelter, but the PLA never got to the DBO and never occupied it. By 2013, the Indian Air Force had constructed the DBO advanced landing ground to the point that its C-130 and C-130J-30 transport aircraft could land there. Though China was aware of this development, it did not protest. Ditto for the DSDBO all-weather route, which was commissioned to be constructed in 2000. However, in 2011, it was discovered that there was a problem with the orientation of the DSDBO Road and work had to be undertaken to realign it. Much of this was completed in 2019. India also designed the Bailey Bridge, the Col Chewang Rinchen Setu, on the Shyok River, which opened in October 2019. The path and highway reduced the time for stabilization or forward movement of troops and supplies from two days just to six hours. India is also constructing feeder lines to the east from the main DSDBO Road to supply its deployments. It should be evident that, with more advances at the political and geopolitical stage, these tactical and dramatic developments assume military-operational importance. The other explanation put forward by numerous scholars, especially Indian-American scholar Ashley Tellis, is that China is under internal and global pressure on the mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis, the economic slowdown, the troubles in Hong Kong, etc. In other terms, Xi Jinping feels the sun at home and needs to be proactive abroad.

Buddhist monasteries are on the top of the mountain in Leh, the merged capital of the Ladakh Union Territory, on June 22, 2020.

Another point is the establishment of India’s strategic relationship with the US, Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy, and India’s participation in the Quad (short for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), which involves the US, India, Japan, and now Australia. As the February 2019 study, published online by the research organization RAND, states, “For now, the US is likely to be satisfied with merely using the Quad as a means of signaling united resolve against China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, without explicitly antagonizing Beijing. This could change in the future if ties between the US and China deteriorate further, or if Beijing’s actions against regional neighbors become much more violent.” Oddly, all these points, while becoming part of the broader mystery, skip the elephant in the Buddhist story of blind men and elephants. Each piece (the part of the elephant) is considered to be the entire piece. It’s not that. Then let’s get to the elephant.

Piecing Together the Puzzle:

Military and strategic preparedness is a feature not only of intentions but also of existing and changing capacities. Likewise, if State X sees that State Y not only strengthens its capability through partnerships and bandwagoning but also communicates shifting intentions, X will opt for its own behavior that better suits its protection and other interests. History, both general and strategic, demonstrates that the best time to compromise or alter the situation on the ground is from a position of dominance. Weakness gives way to a bad deal. It’s in this sense where all the pieces fall together. DBO, DSDBO, off-road, bridges, infrastructure, Indo-US relationship, etc., are becoming meaningful, not in isolation, but in parallel, and with the expression of new intentions.

Police arrest an Indian merchant from an anti-China rally in New Delhi on June 22, 2020.

Though Indian media are flagging and flouting clear terms of 1993, 1996, and 2013 bilateral treaties and accusing China of breaching those deals, they are forgetting two main developments after the new Indian government assumed offices, China’s expectation of the forward-looking role of the Indian Army (and State) has to be seen and understood in terms of both its strengths and its intentions. China, India had shown its hand) before it had gained matching capabilities. It would have been organizational and political folly for China to wait until the resources were matched with the intentions. Current stand-off and study must then shift from the operational to the theater to the political-strategic. Yet this is where we need to explore the history and the war of 1962.

Past and Today:

Culture doesn’t repeat itself, so it’s still rhyming. The 1962 war was fought at Mao’s door for having been in trouble at home due to the collapse of the Great Leap Forward Strategy. Today, observers claim that Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, is making assertive moves on the chessboard (South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, East Ladakh) because of his weak handling of the Covid-19 crisis. This is, at best, deceptive and self-serving at worst. China is a growing competitor. Like all strong nations, Beijing has an interest in its proximity to the outside world and beyond. But the Monroe Doctrine is not just about military strength, although it is rising and significant. It needs connectivity, being the hub from which many spokes arise. Because of its own actions against smaller neighbors, India should know this. It may either be a collaborator with China or a challenger who aims to improve its rivalry potential by joining the US bloc. That’s the decision that India has to make.

The family members of Deepak Singh, an Indian soldier who was killed in the recent Indian-China clashes, bear the ashes of their loved one.

The movements of China are a hint to India. How would you like to play the game? It’s social, the dynamic of escalation. China tries to maintain escalating supremacy at all three levels, both at the theater level and at the diplomatic and geopolitical level. As I have written, if India declines to ascend the escalating ladder, it is forced to address the issue as a border-management rather than a military-operational challenge. There, the PLA has a distinct advantage because it keeps ground and is not willing to give it up. India must either recognize China’s dominant strategic orientation or strive to alter the reality on the ground. Chess’s got a name for it. India is obligated to make a move in its turn, but making the move may be a significant drawback to India.


Source: Published In Dawn

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