New Delhi: The standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh region in the last one-and-a-half months is likely to fester for longer than any other such faceoffs in recent years, and could surpass the 73-day conflict in Doklam in 2017.
The eastern Ladakh crisis is an unprecedented situation if compared to the Doklam standoff, which was resolved after little more than 70 days.
The tense situation in Galwan Valley in all likelihood would be a prolonged feud since India has lost 20 of its soldiers.
Also, what is disturbing is that 10 Indian soldiers, including officers, were in the captivity of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for three days after one of the bloodiest attacks was carried out by China June 15 at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
There is a renewed fury in Indian security establishments after it came to light that a total 10 Indian Army men, including two officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Major, were in Chinese Army captivity for three days and were released only on Thursday evening.
The barbaric assault on Indian Army soldiers at patrolling point 14 on June 15 has left little scope to ease the tension between the two countries in near future.
China’s deceptive method to change status quo:
China has changed the status quo at four places in eastern Ladakh to which India has objected. The four standoff points are Finger Four in north bank of Pangong Lake, patrolling point 14 near Galwan Valley, patrolling point 15 and patrolling point 17A, which is also known as Hot Springs.
At these four points, troop concentration has increased manifold as China changed the status quo.
The Chinese deceptive move underlining its expansionist design kick-started after India had begun building road infrastructure in its territory near the Line of Actual Control for easy movement of troops.
The Galwan Valley attack on Indian soldiers on June 15 was not an isolated incident.
The unprovoked offensive by the Chinese PLA started from May 5 and kept happening over few intervals, leading to the barbaric attack on the night of June 15 in which 76 soldiers were injured and 20 were killed.
Those were the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese PLA since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian Army troops were outnumbered by 1:5 ratio when PLA troops attacked patrolling point number 14 at the Line of Actual Control. PLA troops ‘savagely attacked’ Indian Army personnel, sources said Wednesday.
“The numbers of Indian Army troops compared to PLA troops were of 1:5 ratio,” said sources, adding that China used thermal imaging drones to trace Indian army soldiers before brutally attacking them.
“It was the deadliest attack carried on Indian Army personnel,” government sources said.
The Doklam crisis:
The Doklam crisis of 2017 was totally different from the current situation in eastern Ladakh region, as it was not taking place on a territory disputed between the two countries.
China was carrying out infrastructural development work in Doklam, the tri-junction of three countries — India, China and Bhutan — to which India had objected.
China then claimed that there was a boundary dispute between Bhutan and China in which India had no claims.
However, India refuted and stood its ground, matching the deployment of Chinese troops for 73 days.
The standoff was triggered by China, which said it was constructing a road within its territory. This was disputed by India, which said the Chinese road construction site was Bhutanese territory.
In Doklam, India feared that the Chinese road would give its military access to heights from where it could threaten the Siliguri Corridor, India’s tenuous link with its northeastern regions.
The crisis was resolved with diplomatic maturity without losing any ground. There was no change in the status quo on the ground and the faceoff ended August 28, 2017.
The Eastern Ladakh Crisis:
The faceoff in eastern Ladakh, where China has intruded into Indian territory, has escalated into intense hostility and both the countries have increased troop deployments at four strategic locations.
The Chinese are trying to usurp Indian land and even launched a massive propaganda campaign to claim that its troops were positioned within the Chinese border, which is a lie that has been exposed by international think-tanks keeping a close watch on India-China border developments.
The Chinese military has positioned itself at strategic locations in such a way that it will give them the edge to challenge road construction by India. China does not want any threatening build-up of military infrastructure in the Sub Sector North, which lies just to the east of Siachen glacier and is the only area that provides direct access to Aksai Chin from India.
In the meantime, India has maintained that it needs to build infrastructure in its own territory at the Line of Actual Control and cannot compromise on it.
This has led to the current crisis.
In his first remarks on the bloody border clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear on Wednesday that India wants peace, but is capable of giving a befitting reply if provoked.
The Prime Minister said, “I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not go in vain. For us, India’s unity and sovereignty is most important and no one can stop us from protecting them. No one should have a doubt on this point. India wants peace, but is capable of giving a befitting reply in every way.”
This clear message comes against the backdrop of the Chinese army and its Foreign Ministry’s blatant lie claiming control over the Galwan Valley.
Although historical facts and documents have exposed Chinese sinister claims, the move itself highlights Chinese intent to change the status quo in the Ladakh region. The Indian security establishments have clearly said that India will not let the Chinese take even an inch of its territory.
The Indian government and security officials believe that the situation will remain tense in the coming months even as both countries are trying to resolve the vexed issues through dialogue.
India is also looking at a multi-pronged approach to deal with China by curtailing its business activities in the country.