Ladakh standoff CHAIN OF EVENTS
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Fist fight on 5 May
On the evening of 5 May, a large group of Chinese soldiers, armed with sticks and stones, descended upon a group of Indian soldiers, who were taken by surprise and eventually hit back.
1. In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector on May 9. At least 10 soldiers from both sides sustained injuries.
2. Nearly 20-day standoff between the two sides, the Indian Army has significantly ramped up its presence in sensitive border areas in North Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh besides Ladakh.
3. PM Modi Meets NSA, CDS, 3 Service Chiefs Over India-China Stand-off In Ladakh, 26 May 2020.
4. Troops are being flown to eastern Ladakh and deployed at the three standoff locations,26May 2020 .
The unprecedented high levels of tension at multiple locations in eastern Ladakh on the disputed India-China border, where Chinese soldiers have moved into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has raised questions about the Chinese motives for this action.
HOW THIS ACT IS DIFFERENT THAN THE PREVIOUS ONES
There are some major changes from the earlier pattern of what we have witnessed with regard to the Chinese behaviour on the border: one, they have reportedly come in large numbers into a new area (Galwan river valley) which had not been contentious in terms of the alignment of the LAC; two, they are staying put, dug down and in tents and not just as a short-term patrol; three, these incursions are happening in multiple locations; and four, they have become more assertive and aggressive in their behaviour.
DEMARCATING THOUGH STAND-OFFS
The problem with the ongoing face-off in Ladakh is that because the LAC is undemarcated, it’s not clear whether the Chinese are intruding into “Indian” territory or not. Both China and India have a claim line; both have their own perceptions of where the LAC is.
WHO SHOULD BE BLAMED For Ladakh standoff ?
The blame for this lack of geographical clarity must be placed on China’s door. For 17 years, the Chinese have stalled the mechanism of the special representatives set up to discuss the boundary dispute in 2003, when then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to China. There has been no progress at all – or if there is, it has not been made public.
Beijing has resisted even exchanging maps on the Western sector, which encompasses the current site in Ladakh, as well as in the Eastern sector, which includes Arunachal Pradesh.
THE BORDER IS AN OLD ISSUE BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA BUT THEN THERE ARE FOUR MORE ISSUES WHICH COULD BE THE REASON THAT WHY CHINA IS BEHAVING THE WAY IT IS, RIGHT NOW !
WHAT COULD BE THE REASON Ladakh standoff ?
1.China is determined to expand influence in South Asia. Nepal’s recent act of releasing a new map showing disputed Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani as part of its territory is being widely seen in Delhi as Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s attempt at rebalancing the time-tested “roti-beti” relationship with India in favour of Beijing. None other than Chinese ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi is said to be behind this move.
2.Second , Beijing is smarting from being forced to return to the status quo in Bhutan’s Doklam plateau in 2017, after India moved its troops to stop Chinese soldiers from building a road that could have potentially compromised Indian security.
3.On the eve of Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s election as Chairman of the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board, India supported 62 other nations in moving a resolution that called for an independent investigation into the WHO’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the zoonotic origins of the coronavirus. The Ladakh face-off is said to be a warning shot to India to be careful in allying with Western nations like the US and Australia.
4. Fourth the Chinese have been building border infrastructure for decades, all along the contested 4,206-km-long boundary from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, making it easy for Chinese armour to roll across these highways if the need arises.
5.Fifth , There appears to have been a strategic shift in Chinese thinking after India abrogated Sections of Article 370 last year and created the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India has always claimed Aksai Chin, but the issue appears to have been re-interpreted in China after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was revoked.
In the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, there was a sudden outburst from Beijing over making Ladakh a Union Territory (UT). China described India’s move as “unacceptable”, undermining its “sovereignty” — even raised the issue at the UNSC. India dismissed China’s assertion, termed Ladakh’s new status as an “internal matter” having “no implication for India’s external boundaries or the LAC with China”.
THE MAJOR ISSUE
INDIA’S BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
Chinese overreaction to any infrastructure improvement by India. aggressive posture designed to browbeat the government to stop building border infrastructure in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector as it may threaten the Lhasa-Kashgar highway in Aksai Chin.
Indian security officials said that the focus of the Chinese action in the area was to “dominate the region” and “deter India” from completing the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road, which, once fully metalled, will give India a major advantage in terms of access and military mobilisation.
China is responding to India’s efforts to bolster border-area infrastructure in Ladakh after the completion of the DSDBO road.
The Silk Road town, Daulat Begh Oldi, is today an Indian military base, located just 8 km south of the Karakoram Pass, an all-weather route built by China for its all-weather friend and ally Pakistan.
This was thrown open last year — merely two years after Doklam — allowing a brigade-strength of 3,000 Indian soldiers to be deployed right along the LAC, a sense of accomplishment was apparent in South Block.
n purely military terms, the Chinese dominance and deterrence posture in the DBO sector is an effort by the PLA to try to prevent India from executing its rapid border infrastructure building plan. This summer is the last chance it has.
The Darbuk-Shyok-DBO road will be completed this year and will raise the Indian capacity to rapidly deploy in the area. If the road project is blocked, the Indian Army will be forced to live off aerial supply lines and prepare for an arduous route linking Sansoma to Murgo to DBO through glaciated Saser La
INDIA’S RESPONSE To Ladakh standoff
As past incidents show, India will not back off from matching military moves are different perceptions of the LAC on both sides.
INDIA MATCHES UP TO CHINA’S MILITARY IN STANDOFF NEAR KARAKORAM PASS
India has decided to not back down from a standoff with China — along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh — that centres around a strategic bridge being built near Daulat Beg Oldi, the last military post south of the Karakoram Pass, and has moved troops to counter Chinese forces stationed in the region, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named.
The PM met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat to assess the situation along the LAC amid a tense stand-off between thousands of Indian and Chinese troops, especially in Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh. The CDS briefed PM Modi on the military inputs and suggestions to handle the situation in Ladakh.
PAKISTAN FACTOR BEHIND INDIA-CHINA STAND-OFF IN LADAKH
China’s heightened concerns over Aksai Chin and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is routed, in part, through Gilgit-Baltistan, may have set the backdrop for the ongoing stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.
The CPEC — China’s strategic pathway to the Indian Ocean — which passes through Gilgit-Baltistan — has emerged as an entirely new factor, reinforcing and clubbing the already strong security relationship between China and Pakistan.
China’s actions are hard to decipher, especially in the absence of any authoritative statements from Beijing. From Australia to Hong Kong to Taiwan to the South China Sea to India and right up to the US, a bellicose China is staring at the world for domination at all costs