Thursday, 19 May, 2022
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Army thwarting PLA on Pangong Tso south bank is a warning that India is ‘fighting fit’

While the PLA is digging its heels in areas under its occupation, the Army’s advance gives New Delhi some advantage in the ongoing talks with the Chinese.

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At a time when the Brigade Commander-level talks are going on in Chushul to resolve the five-month-old stand-off in Ladakh region, the Army’s tactical advance in positions extending from the south of Pangong Tso to Spanggur Tso is a well thought out strategy to thwart Chinese ambitions. It is now clear that the ISR reports suggested Chinese troop movement in the foothills of these tops, and hence, the action. It would have been a disaster if the Chinese had managed to control the peaks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, as head of the PLA, becomes directly responsible for anything that happens in the ongoing stand-off — good or bad. The occupation of these heights by the Army appears to have come as a warning to Beijing that India’s response mechanism is in a fighting fit condition and that New Delhi is militarily and psychologically prepared for a long haul.

Also read: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to attend virtual BRICS meet amid rising border tensions

Is Beijing dialling down?

The Army has reportedly occupied Magar and Gurung hills, Richin La and some strategic heights overlooking the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) camps. There are also unconfirmed reports claiming that the Army has hoisted the Tricolour on these five points: BlackTop, HelmetTop, Spangur Gap, Trishul and Hunan/Requin or Renchenla. It is widely believed that these tops had remained unoccupied since 1962. Though it is not clear as to why the Army had left these tops unoccupied till now, the freezing temperatures could be a major reason. With the PLA nowhere in sight, the Army could have assessed the immediate threat perception to minimum, thus leaving the tops unguarded.

That the PLA offered least resistance this time around is a sign Beijing preferred to ask its forces to step back. This could either mean a green signal to de-escalation or a strategic withdrawal, before mounting a fierce attack. The former seems to be the case, going by the subdued statements by the Chinese side. The Chinese are probably also aware of the strength of Indian forces defending the forward areas. They constitute highly-trained fighters selected from the Vikas regiment of the Special Frontier Force that also has India-born Tibetans who are endowed with physical strength to endure the harsh weather in the high altitudes.

While the PLA is believed to be digging its heels in areas under its occupation, the Army’s advance gives New Delhi some advantage in the ongoing talks. New Delhi may not agree to vacate these newly occupied places by the Army, but will surely insist on China restoring the status quo ante.

Also read: Don’t try any misadventure amid India’s tensions with China, CDS Rawat warns Pakistan

The LAC troubles

The Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas, signed on 7 September 1993 — the first major conventional CBM (confidence building measures) between the two countries — strongly advocates peaceful resolution of the border issue between the two countries through friendly consultations. Both countries have agreed to keep minimum military force conforming to the principle of ‘mutual and equal’ security.

The second agreement, signed in 1996, pertains to the CBMs in the military field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas. This agreement was primarily aimed at fulfilling the agenda of the first CBM agreement of 1993. Article X of this agreement again affirms the commitment of both sides to the LAC while fully recognising the “different perceptions” on certain pockets for which the two sides agreed “to speed up the process of clarification” and also agreed “to exchange maps, indicating their respective perceptions”. The LAC between India and China has not yet been physically demarcated/ delineated on the ground or in military maps. This has led to both sides drawing their own perceptions of the LAC.

Beijing unilaterally decided to alter the status quo at the LAC and initiated action through the PLA. The Army has given a fitting reply and taken appropriate and reciprocal action. Going by Beijing’s mixed signals on restoring the status quo ante, New Delhi should be prepared for a longer period of hostilities and greater vigil in the days to come.

Also read: Negotiation is the way forward with China, says India amid rising tensions at LAC

Xi putting up a brave face

There is little doubt that the Chinese economy is facing turbulence and Beijing is putting up a brave face before the world. Many countries have called-off trade deals with China, effectively cancelling import and export of food items. This could have led to a serious demand-supply imbalance, prompting Xi Jinping to announce ‘operation clean plate’. It is the prerogative of any leader to educate his people about the virtues of avoiding wastage of food. But coming at a time when the country is facing a possible food shortage, such pontification should also be seen in the context of global anti-China coalition, increased animosity from the US and a setback in border stand-off with India.

The Defense experts had predicted early in the stand-off that India was in it for a long haul, especially after the Galwan clash and the subsequent failure of talks. But what has happened at Pangong Tso south bank is definitely ‘advantage India’.

The author is a member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP and former editor of Organiser. Views are personal.

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  1. It has been my plea to the Islamic and Asian world such as Bangladesh Afghanistan
    Tajikistan, India and even Pakistan to unite and help. Indonesia and others may also help. The Red Crescent and Israel and Palestine to please allow the Uyughurs passage and immigration from China also.

    The UN must take the case to the Hague and represent the Uyughurs human rights. This group of bright humanity will contribute to any nation intellectual and economic development.

    The Red crescent can actively begin to negotiate their freedom and settlements in the nations l have proposed..these Muslims are the member brothers and sisters of the ahl el kitab..The Muslim world has a responsibility to help them

  2. India must take all precautions to remain in a healthy negotiating position. It must maintain its sovereignty rights which must remain a firm position. Removing land from under its nose and even forcing trumped up negotiations to establish a hold on Indias sovereignty is simple inexcusable and a vile manipulation. Taking correct positions to protect Indiaan land is s valiant move. Aligning with democratic nations also an excellent mitay and economic alliance. In addition India can build a modern wall beginning from the two ends and fusing it at Ladak and continue to build its Airports and bridges….a firm wall of security and also in future Himalayas tourist industry and growth.The wall can become a historical monument of Indias power rightful needs for security and a permanent one for its sovereign rights. In addition it will stimulate the construction industry create jobs and supports for a permanent and modern Symbol ondian rights and a peaceful future….A wall in which tourists can heal enjoy walking on it and even modern light rail facility for tourist pleasures and Ondian Military security..Eternaly!

  3. There are reports in the media that a SFF soldier named Tenzin Niyoma of Tibetan origin was KIA on the intervening night of 29th -30th of August on the southern bank of Pangan Tso. If true, then why is the government and the media not acknowledging his service and sacrifice?

  4. Pakistan has far greater role to initiate peace in South Asia by reining in terror groups and stopping infiltration of terrorists in J&K

  5. China reads signals and takes counter measures. India cannot lower it’s guard on the entire LAC. But deceit is in their blood so not a word of theirs is to be believed. China first became economic power and then boosted military to a power with global reach. India now has to do both together because of the past follies. Even now it is not too late. But there won’t be a second chance.

  6. Whatever allegations Global times, in turn Chinese govt is making is a reflection of their own fear of failure. If they can give wise advice to India,
    same logic they should apply to introspect their own deeds. Are they not aware of misadventures of their own. Stupid Chinese think that world is full of morons. The Chinese candle is flickering, as it’s end nears. They must not test the patience of India & world. If they are so confidant of beating India, why wait? Let Chinese make another military misadventure, their blood will flow down the river of Tibet & poor, innocent Chinese people & PLA will revolt against the “Sheepying” govt. & That will be the end of era of Jurassic.

  7. Still , it looks a long way , to work for peace by both the countries ( Indo China).
    This standoff , is not only a worry for India & China , but also having its impact on other neighboring countries , like Nepal , Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.
    Its better for , all South Asian nations , to struggle for a peaceful solution , of the matter amongst India & China. So that an ultimate peace , can be restored in the area.

    • It is not going to be quick or easy, particularly when you are facing a totalitarian communist dictatorship hellbent on gobbling up its entire neighbourhood. Peace will not come just because you want it. To have peace, you must be prepared to fight a bloody war for as long as it takes. Xi Jinping is the Adolf Hitler of the 21st century – power hungry, ruthless, genocidal and completely devoid of morals. What he is doing to Uyghurs is appalling. Men are being shipped off concentration camps. Women are being forcibly sterilized, their babies aborted, their veils forcibly removed and skirts being forcibly cut to expose their legs, raped by Han Chinese men. This is genocide without killing. It is impossible to expect reasonableness from a country that does these things. We have to be prepared to fight hard.

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