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Ladakh : Battleground 2.0

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Indians truly believe in the saying "Tum Doodh maango Kheer denge, tum Kashmir maango cheer denge". Kashmir is back the limelight once again and this time not because of Pakistan, but because of China. (China is in limelight for the past few months, so no exceptional mention for it!)

Before we head forward, let us understand the type of borders India has.

1. Open Border: With Bhutan and Nepal

2. Line of Control (LOC): With Pakistan. LOC is basically the ceasefire line. Neither country recognizes this as its official border. Clearly demarcated.

3. Line of Actual Control (LAC / LoAC): With China. No clear demarcation which is why we face a lot of transgressions with the Chinese. But, LAC is more respected and formalized. Regular flag meetings, military exercises and drills happen here but no such thing happens at LOC.

4. McMahon Line: Border created between British India and Tibet in the 1900s which is recognized as the international border by India and China. China started claiming otherwise recently but that's China being China.

Why is China irked?

China is pestered because India built and is building a lot of infrastructures not only in Galwan Valley but also along with LAC. The irony here is strong as India's infrastructure is nowhere as compared to China's especially in Ladakh. Along with this, China's image globally is badly hit due to the Coronavirus pandemic and a lot of companies might shift their base to India and other Asian countries. ( A lot of countries moved to Vietnam during the US-China trade war and unless India reforms its laws, it can't attract companies to set up plants here.) Also, China's image internally has fallen down after the Dokhlam standoff where the Chinese had to eventually back off.

Adding fuel to fire, US is constantly nagging China by accusing it of misleading WHO on the coronavirus and its impact. Few scientists are still betting their money on origins of the novel coronavirus and claiming it to be "artificial" and synthetically prepared in the lab. (Read more about conspiracies here )

These are causing the Chinese to be more assertive and practice aggressive patrolling. I don't really know the authenticity of the claim but few speculate that there could be around 5,000 Chinese soldiers on the Chinese side. They have also increased the number of vessels in Pangong Tso lake displaying their assertiveness.

Pangong Lake

Why is India irked?

India has all right to develop infrastructure. Kashmir has been and will be ours no matter what. China is more than awestruck with the efficiency of India's Border Road Organization's who completed most of the road development in spite of COVID'19 and this has rightfully left the Red Army red-faced.

China's Belt and Road initiative (String of Pearl's theory, informally) has always irked India given the fact that it aimed to lure India's neighbours with money (a debt trap essentially) which in most cases has worked as they have started to turn backs on India and Nepal speaking on behest of the Chinese is the newest example. (Read about Belt and Initiative under a minute here). Countering this, India developed similar strategies but the drawback India has is money. We can't just pour in billions of dollars like China. Using the International Solar Alliance as a platform, India has recently launched a scheme known as One Sun One World One Grid to mutually share the economic benefits. And, I believe we will come up with more such programs in the near future.

India's response is more or less reactionary to that of China's. We are building up forces along the LAC to match their presence so that we don't leave any stone unturned but our favourite stone still remains diplomacy and talks. Even after the Wuhan India - China informal meet in 2018 nothing has changed especially due to the fact that both the countries agreed on developing peaceful and progressive relations and they even adopted principles similar to the Panchsheel agreement and yet they turned out futile.

This entire chain of reaction is due to a larger scheme of events rather than just a few transgressions by the Chinese in the Western border. I hope I cleared some issues!

Edit 1:- Galwan Clashes

Sequence of events as they happened:

  1. CO and his men went to Point 14 to check if the Chinese left the post or not.

  2. The tents were intact and hence, CO was uprooting it.

  3. Chinese were preplanned and attacked CO and his men with nail-studded iron rods (freshly welded).

  4. The news spreads to other Indian troops in that region and they rush to the scene.

  5. Fistfight ensures and a brutal fight happens till the day.

This entire episode happened over a ridge wherein a person can barely fit. The conditions were treacherous and resulted in multiple soldiers attaining martyrdom.

Reason as to why they occurred:

You want to travel from Bhopal (read, Leh) to Delhi Airport (read, Daulat Beg Oldi, a place in Ladakh which has an Advanced Landing Ground and it's just 9km from LAC). The road has been built recently. Agra (read, Point 14 Galwan Valley) is right next to the road and we built a bridge connecting Agra (read, Point 14 Galwan Valley) with the road which has irked China as you move troops quickly to Point 14.

China's plan is essentially to capture Point 14 and in case of war, it can now easily block the road to the airport further up north choking India's supply lines and making it difficult for us to attack Aksai Chin region.

PS: The locations used, such as Bhopal, Delhi Airport, and Agra is just to give you a sense of directions. To tell you which place is North, which place is in the South. Think of it as an umpire signalling No Ball, the feet is Leh, the head is Daulat Beg Old and the right hand is Galwan Valley.




#Ladakh #Pangong #GalwanValley

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