TOP 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INDO-CHINA STANDOFF IN LADAKH
Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai? Not so much!
This famous catchphrase was the result of India’s diplomatic push for friendly ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the 1950s, translating to “Indians and Chinese are brothers.”
India and China have been involved in three major military conflicts-the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola incident in 1967, and the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish. Nepal and Bhutan act as buffer states with the Himalayan ranges separating the two.
The 1962 Sino-Indian War led to the formulation of a 4,056 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). Since then, both countries have been engaged in numerous skirmishes and standoffs. The latest Eastern Ladakh (Pangong Tso) skirmishes hint at the long history of PRCs notorious efforts of claiming strategically essential posts in the disputed region. CPEC, an ambitious project hints at the bigger ambition of Beijing. Suppress India and establish an unchallenged dominant posture in South Asia.
Times have changed, India now commands a superior position in the ranks of the world, with the world’s largest standing volunteer army, ample mountain warfare experience and well aware of the dirty tactics of our neighbours, smarter and stronger than ever.
Let us take a look at the Doklam standoff, a similar event which took place a few years before.
- Doklam Standoff: Operation Juniper, 18 June 2017
PLA and Indian Army were engaged in a standoff in the Doklam area. India was in strong opposition to the Chinese construction of a strategic road near the Sikkim border.
Operation Juniper was the final effort by the Indian side involving 250 armed Indian Army troops and two bulldozers crossing the Sikkim border on 18 June 2017, leading to a successful halting of PLAs road construction activities.
Indian Army’s actions at Doklam reflected the change in our national deterrence policy. PRC was hurt, Doklam marked an important shift in the status quo along LAC.
- Status quo is the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues.
India won’t hesitate to flex its muscle to safeguard the sovereignty of its borders. We weren’t the India anymore China knew.
2020 Eastern Ladakh Skirmishes (Pangong Tso)
The fresh series of standoffs and skirmishes come in the backdrop of over 660 LAC violations and 108 aerial violations by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2019, showcasing Beijing’s growing concerns over New Delhi’s construction of Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road.
- Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road is a strategic road connecting Leh, via the villages of Darbuk and Shyok at southern Shyok Valley, with the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) post near the China border.
- Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) is a critical tactical asset for the Indian Armed Forces, hosting Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), one of world’s highest airstrip (altitude of 16,614 feet)
It can be used for Combat Logistical Support missions in times of war, giving India an upper hand along LAC.
Pangong Tso Lake
- 5 May 2020: First standoff, clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at a beach of Pangong Tso lake involving fistfights and stone-pelting.
- 10-11 May 2020: Another skirmish took place. Several soldiers reported having injured on both sides.
Chinese hepters were spotted in the Area of Operation (AO) with IAF, deploying its Su-30MKI multirole air superiority fighters.
- 10 May 2020: Indian lieutenant reportedly punched a Chinese Major upon a confrontation with Chinese troops who intruded into Indian territory. This incited a brawl involving 150 soldiers, leaving seven Chinese and four Indian soldiers injured.
- 21 May 2020: Incursion into Galwan River valley by PLA troops, objecting to the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO road construction by India within the undisputed Indian territory.
- 24 May 2020: Another incursion by PLA soldiers at Hot Springs, Patrol Point 14, and Patrol Point 15. About 800–1,000 Chinese soldiers pitched tents supported by heavy vehicles and surveillance equipment.
India responded with the deployment of troops stationed within 500 meters of the Chinese posts.
- 15 June 2020: News reports of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops on a mountain range within the Galwan valley region emerged.
PLA troops are said to have ambushed the Indian Army’s Bihar Regiment patrolling party.
What do these repeated attempts of incursion by PLA mean?
Yes, you heard it right. The ultimate goal is of gaining military control over the Siachen Glacier. India has been holding Siachen since April of 1984. Costing India heavily, both in terms of human lives and finances.
What added fuel in the already burning PRCs leadership was the advice of then Army Chief General Bipin Rawat of opening the Siachen base camp to Kumar post for tourism. Clubbed with the scrapping of article 370 and formation of two new Union territories Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir.
China’s leadership was seen in strong objection to the move, terming it as a change in the status quo by India. Present events point strongly to the creation of Ladakh Union Territory by the Government of India.