Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeDefenceChinese aggression in Ladakh also a message for domestic and external audience:...

Chinese aggression in Ladakh also a message for domestic and external audience: Experts

International experts say the timing is troubling as it comes at ‘a critical phase in India's internal difficulties with the Covid-19 pandemic’.

Text Size:

New Delhi: The sudden Chinese transgressions in at least four places in Eastern Ladakh and its heavy troop build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the northern sector, could be part of a larger signaling process by Beijing, intended for domestic as well as external audiences, experts and officials in the Indian security establishment feel. 

Indian officials are yet to really pin down the exact reason behind China’s actions at the border but a section feels that Beijing’s efforts to stop Indian construction activities along the LAC is a message to the country’s local population.  

President Xi has been under pressure over his handling of the Corona crisis. In 2017 Doklam, Chinese made sure that the standoff ended before the commencement of the CPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Process). This time the Chinese move has come before the CPCC,” a source in the security establishment said.

Lt Gen D.S. Hooda, the former Northern Army Commander, told ThePrint that what is more important is to know what exactly China wants.

He said multiple face-off points are an indication that this is not related to just one road construction activity in the Galwan Valley.

Of course China is signalling to a lot of people. But it is building pressure on India. What matters is what China is demanding for de-escalation,” he said.

Also read: India waits for China’s diplomatic words to ‘translate into action on ground’ at LAC in Ladakh

Timing is troubling: International analysts 

Taylor Fravel, an expert on China’s military strategy who is also the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the MIT’s Security Studies Program, told ThePrint that he certainly agrees that China is trying to signal that it has not been weakened by the coronavirus and its economic aftershocks. 

While I don’t think this alone would lead China to create an incident with India, I do think it helps to explain the scope, scale, and posture of China’s response,” he said. “In many issues this spring, China has sought to signal its resolve, especially when sovereignty is involved — Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea.”

Professor Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, Australian National University told ThePrint that the timing of the Chinese military push in contested territory is very troubling. 

It coincides with a critical phase in India’s internal difficulties with the Covid-19 pandemic. So perhaps it is calculated to catch the Indian leadership distracted and off-guard,” he said.

He, however, added that there is a risk here for China too as it is further antagonising India at a time when it has already alienated much of the world over the coronavirus situation. 

From Australia to Hong Kong to the South China Sea to Europe to the deepening confrontation with America, and now India too – how many fronts can Beijing manage without mishap?” he questioned.

Could just be reaction to road-building at LAC’

Fravel said the simplest explanation is that China viewed India’s road-building in the area, especially around Galwan and Pangong Lake, as changing (from its standpoint) the situation along the LAC. 

However, the scope, scale, and posture of China’s response is something that has not occurred for a very long time, he said. 

China is putting pressure on the LAC simultaneously in multiple areas across a large front in the western sector (of LAC). Although reports vary, in terms of scale, China may have placed an additional 5,000 soldiers along the LAC,” he said. “Finally, in several places, China appears to have crossed the LAC, where it was believed to have been ‘settled’, adopting an assertive posture in specific places.”

Fravel, who has authored Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, said the situation is concerning, especially in those areas where India believes China crossed the LAC.

The situation, however, remains fluid and is not out of control,” he said. “Large numbers of Chinese forces do not appear to have crossed the LAC, and it remains unclear whether they intend to stay permanently in the few positions they recently occupied or to withdraw, as has occurred in the past.”

Fravel added that if China stays, it risks inflaming Indian public opinion and worsening ties with New Delhi. So one has to ask whether these small pieces of territory would be worth the price that China would pay,” he said.

Also read: India waits for China’s diplomatic words to ‘translate into action on ground’ at LAC in Ladakh



Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. We are paying for the blunder committed by Pt Nehru when he accepted the bluff of Hindu China Bhai Bhai.He gladly gave U UNDERSTAND SECURITY COUNCIL seat to his Chinese counter part. Let MODI Jii as allow UP and Bihar people to cross China page border with an assurance that what ever they capture they are honour.

  2. Can the reporter kindly enlighten us how president Xi is under pressure in China for his handling of corona cases in his country. Corona affected just one province in China it has less than 90000 people affected with the virus around 4500 dead almost 80 % recovered & less than 50 persons reporting affected each day for the past 2 months.Life has become normal with certain restrictions & a functional rehabilitation process in place & working.Now compare this with India We have 2 lac cases more than 1 still affected around 20000 in serious condition more than 5500 dead & another 500 due to accidents hunger of migrants exodus from cities & daily count rising by 8000 with 200 deaths each day. Entire Country is under complete Lockdown & no transport/business/manufacturing activities taking place with no rehabilitation process in place apart from false assurances & diversionary tactics throwing normal life out of gear for past 70 days.In light of all these data can U please educate me WHO should be under pressure to perform the Govt of India or Xi.

  3. Most unfortunate defence minister and his boss maintaining stoic silence as usual on this impasse.

  4. India should analyse all that are being imported from China. And plan on SOS to start manufacturing them in India. Even if it is slightly expensive compared to China, it is better that we are self sufficient. China has arm twisting tactics. Chinese are bullies & will go to any extent to occupy other countries land. Govt should offer special subsidy to encourage Indian Entrepreneurs to manufacture Chinese products that are being imported Or alternatively Govt factories should manufacture Chinese products especially in Pharma, electronics ….. India should become self reliant & should be able to manufacture products being imported from China to avoid getting caught with high dependence on China, if we are forced to war on China.

  5. Stop the retarded analyses on why china is doing this and that….they are sitting inside our territory….so please ask our army to go and occupy some locations in China across LAC… Else if we don’t have the spine handover ladakh and other territories whatever china asks and stop cribbing…fed up with this useless analysis….time for action across LAC in China

  6. India has released map showing China as aggressor and occupier.. Equally India has oppressed the citizens of jammu and kashmir denying their independence and persecuting millions of innocent unarmed civilians labelling them terrorist… Kashmiri pandits supported right wing hindu indian politicians denomination in region leaking intelligence information of kashmiri fighting for its freedom..right wing hindu politicians started persecuting Kashmiris through Indian military and diverted the Kashmiri independence fight to hindu Muslim conflict.. If Kashmiri Muslims persecuted hindu pandits, they would have demolished hindu shrines in kashmir. Both Muslims and hindus died in casualties… Some scholars have also accused the Indian state and Media of utilizing the experience of Hindus as a tool of propaganda. In February 1993, a notable Indian magazine launched an investigation upon a list of 23 shrines provided by Bharatiya Janata Party and found that the claims of alleged desecration of scores of Hindu shrines in Kashmir, widely perpetuated by the Indian media and right-wing Hindu politicians, were “false”… The hindu shrines still exists and hindu pandits were invited many times by Kashmiris to settle down… RSS and it’s supporters always backstabbed India and is threat to Indian development

    • Kashmiri pandits were ordered out of J and K at short notice,convert to Islam or flee,if you stay back we’ll kill you and take your women and children.When Hindus fled kashmir the sad thing was no muslims protested.The political violence of extreme Islam has come a full circle.Your karma will catchup with you

  7. China wants to grab Indian land before agreeing to any LAC. Same as Pakistan had done in POK. India needs to show strength and reclaim lost land.

  8. @changez k , pm vajpayee and pm nawaz sharif came very close in closing the kashmir chapter . But it was your army that backstabbed india in the summer of 1999 .

  9. The real intention of Chinese skirmish at border is a message to Indian opinion setters media, Hardline Hindu nationalist not to favour USA lead Indo Pacific strategy and propaganda of China virus and stigmatism the virus to China. China need India help for becoming econmic super power. But recently media demonizing China acquisition of HDFC may not be taken lightly. The negative perception of Chnia from collective psych of India since 1962 forgotten war has been testing by China from time to time.

    • Tibet, Aksai Chin, South China Sea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, now Incursions into Indian territories after crossing LAC clearly shows Chinese mindset. They are a threat to mankind. China used the Chinese people to silently spread Civid-19 to the rest of the world. If the Chinese were good humans, they could have warned the entire world way back in November itself. Covid 19 would never have become a pandemic. The entire world is suffering because of these inhuman Chinese. It is time for the entire world to move away from China & the Chinese people. Chinese internally are cruel inhumans, it can be seen in their wild eating habits, Ugh! eating live rats, live millipedes, live centipedes, ….. clearly depicts their cruel nature. The massacre, torture, inhuman treatment of Uighur Muslims, Hong Kong attacks are an example of how they treat human beings

  10. If Indians had ever used even half of this reasoning & logic with Pakistan, Kashmir dispute would have been resolved 50 years back !!!!

    • India tried at mutliple occasion but all agreements were breached nor Pakistan shows assistance in eradicating terror groups.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular