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HomeDefenceWhy Indian Army is cautious of China during Ladakh disengagement

Why Indian Army is cautious of China during Ladakh disengagement

In 1962, China had used deception to mount a full-frontal attack on India. However, some feel China can no longer catch India off-guard since Army has beefed up presence along LAC.

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New Delhi: The Army is being cautious about the disengagement with China in Ladakh as it feels Beijing could drag the whole process through the winter and use the distraction to make mischief elsewhere, possibly in the Northeast, ThePrint has learnt.

This probable scenario is high on the mind of military and security planners in New Delhi as well as those of the Northern and the Eastern commands, sources said. 

China, the sources added, appears to be “intentionally dragging” the disengagement dialogue.

“China has built up (troops) in large numbers. We, too, have brought in a large number of troops into the Ladakh sector. The talks are very protracted and it seems China is intentionally dragging them,” a source said.

A second source added that “the fear is that, while China will force us to stay engaged in Ladakh, it might do something in another sector, possibly along Arunachal Pradesh”. “This could be coupled with pressure along the Line of Control by Pakistan,” the second source said.

The 1962 war, the sources added, is the biggest lesson in this regard, as the Chinese had then used deception and smokescreen to mount a full-frontal attack on India at multiple locations. Even so, one section in the security establishment believes China can no longer catch India by surprise since it has strengthened its defences on the border.

Also Read: Rifles, missiles, ammunition, drones — armed forces on shopping spree amid LAC tensions

‘They may come back later’

The Indian military has already beefed up its presence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in the northern (Ladakh), central (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.

The military’s apprehensions about the disengagement process, which seeks to resolve tensions triggered by Chinese incursions since May, were also brought to light by none other than Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to Ladakh last week.

He said the ongoing talks between the countries should resolve the situation, but he could not “guarantee” to what extent there would be a resolution. 

The second source said even though the disengagement process is on, “nothing stops the Chinese from coming back later”. “One never knows what is running in someone’s mind. Hence, the policy for disengagement is trust but verify,” the source added.

However, a third source said China would not be able to catch India off-guard now since the Army has already taken steps all along the LAC to ensure that Beijing is not able to do come in like it did in Ladakh.

China no longer enjoys the surprise factor. They had the first-mover advantage in Ladakh initially but they have been countered there and everywhere now,” the source added.

Also Read: Here’s how Army is getting 30,000 additional troops winter-ready in Ladakh

The history factor

The 1962 experience lies at the heart of the apprehensions about Chinese intentions. In the war that took place that year, sources said, the Chinese had used deception. 

They transgressed at multiple places in Ladakh much prior to the actual beginning of the war on 20 October and their foray into the erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh).

Even in NEFA, it was not a direct attack. “The Chinese had first lit the fuse on 8 September 1962 by intruding into the Thagla Ridge area but this was not treated as a prelude to a full-scale invasion. It was dismissed as yet another minor border incident which could be ‘localised and dealt with firmly’,” Late Brig J.P. Dalvi noted in his book Himalayan Blunder.

Asked if they feared a repetition by the Chinese, a source said measures have been taken along the entire LAC to counter any Chinese move.

The Army is already basing its preparations at the LAC on the estimate that the disengagement process will continue through Ladakh’s long, icy winter. It has consequently been on a massive drive to ensure adequate supply of the right gear and adequate rations for the 30,000 additional troops deployed in multiple places along the LAC.

The Army has also been on a shopping spree to ensure that they don’t face any shortage of firepower or surveillance capability, among other things, in case the situation takes a turn for the worse.

Also Read: Modi’s bid to sway China’s Xi with personal outreach was a big error. India’s paying for it


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  2. Why is India in receiving end? Why India not the aggressor? Our Aksai chin and other lands are taken over by Chin and Pakistan piece by piece. This is sin of decade of Congress rule. If they would have bought Rafels and other military equipment instead of doing corruptions India would have required strength to face 2 front war. Look at how only 5 Rafel adding up to strenth now. These buggers did not do anything when in power and when Modi was doing it they tried to sabotage it. These are the real anti nationals.

  3. It’s assuring to know, Indian army is alert on all border points with china and PLA cannot take us by surprise…but strangely the Indian leaders are not spelling out the fact that PLA are already much inside the west of LAC in our land and drawing new LAC as several strategic experts and neutral source say. They are only roaring rhetorics. More so with agreement they are creating buffer zone in our land… Reprehensible. In this age of communication nothing can be hidden. Are we accepting the Chinese perception of LAC… Or are we pushing them back to status quo ante? Are our leaders following appeasement policy ?

  4. Go be human and resolve, respect people’s rights and don’t kill them. Create ambience and be part of the same. Create war and be prepared to make all suffer, particularly the devout poor.

  5. So what did Modi get from the ill planned political gimmick of Aug 5 Kashmir move………………invasion from China???

  6. Always blame the decepter but not the fools who gao decieved.Blame only Modi but not the foolish 600corore janta.hypocracy ki bhi sima hoti hain.

  7. Is it suggested that LAC be accepted as the International Boundary?
    In that case do we forget about Aksai Chin and Tibet illegally captured by the Chinese?
    Otherwise the Chinese must withdraw to the McMohan line as delineated in pre partition era

  8. if china opens up 2nd front india should open up couple of new fronts too from position of strength. We donot have to keep matching chinese. we can have the chines keep match what we do. Instead of playing chinese game we can make them play our game with our rules.

  9. The larger issue is much beyond the current stand-off. India has to be vary of China exploiting the nebulous and ill defined LAC in perpetuity. The priority for India here is two-fold, in brief
    1. Continue to improve the defences across the LAC by augmenting infrastructure and troop dispositions.
    2. Aggressively but cautiously (be prepared for give and take situations) approach to resolve the issue diplomatically.
    We can’t forever be in a situation of disengagements and deescalation

      • As a Nation, you can’t choose your neighbours. We have to deal with them in the best possible way. If our actions coincid with our intention, we will be always successful.
        Yes, there will be irritants I do not think India has a lot to worry really. We are ready

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