Thursday, 11 August, 2022
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China has taken LAC clock back to 1959. India not in a position to take back Aksai Chin

PM Narendra Modi has both popularity and political skill. Will he bite the bullet and convince Indians about unpalatable strategic decisions?

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Through its intrusions since May, China has taken the clock back to 7 November 1959. The difference being that instead of isolated posts/patrols facing each other, three-four divisions, including reserves, are locked in a confrontation along the same line. Let there be no doubt that the 1959 Claim Line is normal for all future negotiations and China is in no mood to give up its recent gains.

The four-and-a-half-month-long conflict along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the five-point agreement signed in Moscow has opened the way to settle the larger boundary dispute between India and China. We are exactly in the same situation as in 1959. The Chinese offer then was to settle the issue in Ladakh as per the 1959 Claim Line and recognise the McMahon Line in the northeast. Through its actions since April 2020, the Chinese have already reached the 1959 Claim Line in Depsang and north of Pangong Tso. The only other area left is Demchok.

The seventh Corps Commander-level talks are scheduled on 12 October as agreed to in the 19th Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs. At the end of the meeting, the statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that China has agreed “…to work towards early and complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC following the existing bilateral agreement and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquillity”. The Chinese statement merely said it has agreed “to hold the seventh round of military-level talks at an early stage, urgently handle the remaining issues on the ground and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

The difference in the agenda for the talks highlights the hardening approach of China. More so, when on 25 September, in reply to a query by Hindustan Times, China unequivocally reiterated, “China-India border LAC is obvious, that is the LAC on November 7, 1959. China announced it in the 1950s, and the international community, including India, is also clear about it. However, ever since this year, the Indian Army has continued to arrive and illegally cross the border, unilaterally expanding the scope of actual control. This is the source of tension on the border issues. The key to disengagement between the two armies is India’s withdrawal of all illegal cross-border personnel and equipment.”

On 29 September, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “China does not recognise the so-called Union Territory of Ladakh illegally established by India and opposes infrastructure construction in disputed border areas for military control purposes.”

It is crystal clear that in future talks, the Chinese approach will be to reiterate its ownership of territory up to the 1959 Claim Line and China will insist that disengagement/de-escalation is based accordingly.

I trace the history of the 1959 Claim Line, its strategic and tactical importance in various sectors and whether it can form the basis for a comprehensive settlement of the boundary dispute between India and China.


Also read: PLA’s eye is on 1959 Claim Line. But Modi, Xi can get around it and make peace before winter


1959 Claim Line

The 1959 Claim Line had its origin in former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai’s letter to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru dated 7 November 1959, wherein he proposed: “the armed forces of China and India each withdraw 20 kilometres at once from the so-called McMahon Line in the east, and from the line up to which each side exercised actual control in the west.” This line was broadly described by the Chinese during the five rounds of talks between officials of India and China held in 1960.

This was the first time that the Chinese had formally stated their claims and approach towards negotiations. For a decade, both sides had been busy securing the frontier regions. India preempted the Chinese in the northeast, and by 1951, had secured the entire territory up to the McMohan Line, barring a few marginal areas, using the Assam Rifles. In Ladakh, the Chinese had preempted us, built the Tibet Xinjiang Road (G 219) and crept forward to provide depth to the same by securing major parts of Aksai Chin. Elsewhere, we managed to plant our flag using the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Intelligence Bureau.

At this juncture, our patrols/posts came face-to-face with the Chinese. On 25 August 1959 at Longju, in Lohit division, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) took a soldier from the Assam Rifles as a prisoner of war (POW). The first violent incident took place on 21 October at Kongka La in Ladakh, where nine CRPF personnel were killed, three wounded and seven taken as POW.

Zhou Enlai’s proposal was rejected by Nehru in his letter dated 16 November 1959: “We do not yet know with any precision where the frontier line lies according to the claims of the Chinese Government… An agreement about the observance of the status quo would, therefore, be meaningless as the facts concerning the status quo are themselves disputed.”

As a result of these incidents and high risk of more clashes, the Chinese finally stated their position during the 1960 talks, giving the latitude and longitude of 17 points of the 1959 Claim Line. These points are widely separated and thus subject to different interpretations with respect to areas in between. Also, during the 1960 talks, the Chinese often said that the coordinates were approximate. The ambiguity is most pronounced in the Depsang Plains and Demchok Sector.

It is pertinent to point out that during the 1962 War, the PLA did not at any point cross the 1959 Claim Line despite Indian troops having withdrawn nearly 100 km behind. In Ladakh, the PLA captured only those posts that had been established 10-20 km east of the current LAC in pursuit of the “forward policy” post-1959. In fact, the line again came into focus when China declared unilateral ceasefire on 19 November 1962: “Beginning from 21 November 1962, the Chinese frontier guards will cease fire along the entire Sino-Indian border. Beginning from 1 December 1962, the Chinese frontier guards will withdraw to positions 20 kilometres (12 miles) behind the line of actual control which existed between China and India on 7 November 1959.”

Despite having been routed in the war, Nehru rejected the conditional unilateral ceasefire. In his letter dated 1 December 1962, Nehru wrote: “What you call ‘the line of actual control as on November 7, 1959’ in the western sector was only a series of isolated military posts. You are aware that in November 1959 there were no Chinese posts of any kind either at Qiziljilga, Shinglung, Dehra, Samzangling or any areas to the west of these locations nor did the Chinese have any posts to the south or west of Spanggur. Despite this, ‘the line of actual control as on November 7, 1959’, as your Government now claim in Ladakh, is along the line of control established by your forces after the massive attacks mounted since 20th October, 1962. This is a definite attempt to retain under cover of preliminary ceasefire arrangements, physical possession over the area which China claims and to secure which the massive attack since 20th October, 1962, was mounted by your forces. This we cannot agree to.”

Despite having generally adhered to all agreements post-1993 to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the Chinese remained ambiguous about which LAC they were referring to. The “areas of differing perceptions” were part of this facade. Their focus remained on the 1959 Claim Line.

DBO Sector- Approximately annotated Google Earth image

Also read: What’s the 1959 claim line? The one China says it’s following in the Ladakh stand-off


Strategic, tactical importance of 1959 Claim Line

The 1959 Claim Line is a masterpiece of terrain evaluation. Strategically, it is aligned to protect Aksai Chin and other areas seized by China in the 1950s. Tactically, it allows each sector to be isolated and at the risk of defeat in detail.

The rough alignment of the line is as per the marking on Google Earth/Maps. In the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) Sector, in the northern half, the 1993 LAC is aligned with the 1959 Claim Line. In the southern half, after intruding 18-29 km up to Bottle Neck in May 2020, the 1959 Claim Line has been reached. The DBO airfield is only 10 km from and the distance to our strategic road varies between 7-10 km from the Claim Line. The entire DBO Sector can be cut off by an offensive through Raki Nala, Jivan Nala and to the west from Bottle Neck. Thus, the DBO Sector remains our vulnerability and we are in no position to pose any threat to Aksai Chin.

In the Galwan Valley, the Claim Line is only 5 km from our strategic road, making it vulnerable. It also denies us another access to Aksai Chin. Despite the clashes there in May, the Claim Line coincides with the LAC. The PLA intrusion was to gain tactical advantage. South of the Galwan River, the Claim Line coincides with the LAC.

In Kugrang River-Changlung Nala, the Claim Line coincides with the LAC and denies us the southern access to the Galwan River Valley and Aksai Chin. In Kongka La Sector, the alignment makes the salient liable to be cut off at Gogra, Hot Springs and Tsogstsalu. It also denies the southern approach to Aksai Chin. However, the 1993 LAC coincides with the Claim Line and the PLA intrusions since May are to gain tactical advantage.

North of Pangong Tso, as per China’s own version given during the 1960 talks, the Claim Line enters the lake at Finger 8. However, the PLA intruded 8 km west to Finger 4. This has been done to deny us an approach along the north bank of Pangong Tso and also to facilitate a PLA offensive towards Phobrang to cut off the entire area north of Pangong Tso, including Kongka La-Kugrang-Hot Springs-Gogra-Marsimik La-Ane La.

In the Chushul Sector, the Claim Line coincides with the 1993 LAC allowing us to be in a dominant position by holding the Kailash Range. This is one tactical flaw in the 1959 Claim Line, which allows us to be in a position of advantage. Overall, the alignment, which is 10-15 km west of the 1947 International Border (IB), provides depth to Rudok through which the G 219 road passes.

Demchok Sector – Approximately annotated Google Earth image

Further south and southeast, the alignment is along the Kailash Range north of Indus and then from west of Fukche, it runs along the Indus River and turns south along the eastern watershed of Koyul River. In this sector, the LAC lies 35 km east at Demchok. The aim of the alignment was to give depth to Ngari, 50 km from Demchok, through which the G 219 passes, and also to deny approaches to Rudok via Chang La. Since 1962, the Chinese have refrained from intruding into the Indus Valley, probably due to the habitation at Demchok. However, they have salami-sliced some areas south of Demchok near Charding La. In event of any escalation, this sector could be a flashpoint.


Also read: Why has India’s China policy been such a failure? Question New Delhi’s assumptions first


Can 1959 Claim Line be the basis of a comprehensive agreement?

The Chinese have put their cards on the table. A strong signal has been sent that acceptance of the 1959 Claim Line will not only pave the way for disengagement/de-escalation but also for a comprehensive boundary agreement.

We are in no position to take back Aksai Chin and other areas in Chinese occupation in the foreseeable future. If negotiations lead towards formal demarcation of the border with a wide demilitarised zone, it may pave the way for converting it into International Border at a later date. The exact alignment of the border will be contingent on diplomatic skills and not necessarily the 1959 Claim Line per se.

The mistrust of the Chinese and the public sentiment in India are likely to be the main impediments. In China’s defence, it can be said that in war and peace, it has generally adhered to the 1959 Claim Line. The only notable violation has been north of Pangong Tso, intrusions in Hot Springs-Gogra-Kugrang and Galwan Valley being temporary tactical actions.

It is time for the political leadership to take charge. China has changed the goalposts and negotiations with focus on the 1959 Claim Line, and the larger boundary issue cannot be left to the Generals. The hallmark of statesmen is not to exploit emotions through rhetoric but use their popularity to convince the public about unpalatable strategic decisions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has both — popularity and political skill. Will he bite the bullet?

Lt Gen H S Panag PVSM, AVSM (R) served in the Indian Army for 40 years. He was GOC in C Northern Command and Central Command. Post retirement, he was Member of Armed Forces Tribunal. Views are personal.

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66 COMMENTS

  1. Serving the nation in Army for 40years doesnt make you an excellent diplomat. Diplomacy happens in multiple fronts with multiple ways, not only with weapons. I might agree with u in certain points, but overall a negative approach will make nations like Taiwan cry for its survival. India is still better in negotiations. Lets see how the future unfolds. A biased article with age old beliefs will not solve present-day complications in international community. Geopolitcis is a very dynamic subject, it will never go back to 1950s. One must remain aware of that.

  2. Sir you first give us a long list of reasons how Chinese will benefit from 1959 CL becoming the IB. And in conclusion you ask the leadership to bite the bullet. What you are trying to say is beyond me – why should India accept 1959 CL if it benefits China

  3. Modi and Xi are better equipped for settling border dispute. It must be given a serious attempt by both sides. A just solution can only be reached by both leaders acknowledging the sensitivities of each other. The dispute must be resolved for the entire border as full n final, with no room for Slami slicing by Chinaman. Till that happens India must stand firm and guard it’s border.

  4. Yes. Modi can get anything done from most Indians, mainly hindus. Most won’t even mind sharing their body with him, what to say compromising an abstract concept called nation.

  5. This shows how PLA trying to wage a mind game s.I felt I am reading an article in Global times. I feel all these articles appearingiTheHindu,Hindustan Times Print are part chinese propaganda. to slowly convince the opponent they are weak and win the war without firing a shot.

  6. At political level, India must use the 1959 claim line as only a start point for talks, but put down clearly which parts of that line are to be modified in India’s favour, such as suitable protection to DBO and stretches of the DBO road. CHinese can be given assurances regarding the operation of their highway 219.

    But we have to be absolutely clear that the whole of Arunachal is with us and no claims on Tawang are made. Right now , CHina has made no such indication.

  7. When the General says that China has taken the clock back to 1959 does he mean that we are ready for another HIMALAYAN BLUNDER. IT is the full clock or only part of it has been taken back?
    Chinese tried for a short low/no cost war with little success. Extending that war to a shorter duration seems to have been met with a visible preparedness to counter which means costs Chinese.
    Escalation is what China is not looking for because any longer duration conflict is bound to involve a third party given the deterrence equation.
    The next best thing is to try and, ware out the Indians on the higher ridges during winter but thanks to Pakistan they have trained us in that part of warfare over decades now.
    It will be costly but with forex reserves at $ 546 Bn. things do not look impossible to sustain that. Call for more resources has been experienced with surrender of Gas subsidy and the funds in PM Cares. It will be a call unlike that of Panditji and Menon.

  8. even if we give up both ladakh and arunachal, china wont drop its policy of containing and subverting india by propping up pakistan until india becomes a servile tributary to china. china’s aim is to prevent the rise of any peer power. sino indian question is a strategic one, about the future global order and goes beyond the border dispute. moreover, appeasement of an unscrupulous power like china never bring peace . it will only embolden it further. china listens to strength only.

  9. I have never posted a comment in my life.but I am so outraged by this article that I have decided to write this.
    1. This writer doesn’t seem to have even an iota of self esteem as an Indian national and in the guise of pragmatism, he suggests India to kowtow to china.
    2. he lacks not just self respect but also faith in India’s future. he believes and wants us to believe that India will forever remain poor and weak.
    3. The fact that India was the world’s largest economy for most part of the human history or the estimates that India will be the largest economy again by the end of this century doesn’t matter to him. Had our forefathers also thought like him that resisting mighty British is futile ,we would have still been a British colony.
    4 . The real question is not whether we can retake the territory or not, but, should we give our moral acquiescence to the immoral occupation of our territory by an arrogant power that believes only might is right.
    5. Lack of strength is Ok but not lack of self respect; losing territory is Ok but not losing self respect.A nation without self respect is morally a slave despite its physical independence.
    6. Perhaps we should learn something from Vietnam which is 15 times smaller than India and can never hope to surpass china ,but nevertheless still resists chinese occupation of its seas.
    7. If we cant retake Aksai chin. then let it forever remain a disputed territory.but we should never surrender to china’s will and legitimize its occupation.that would be true moral capitulation of India .
    8. Lastly, Our elites priority is to check nationalist feelings among masses than to defend the nation’s honor. class interests above nation’s dignity. that’s why these sort of articles.

  10. India has to behave the way China like and it is in favour of the nation to have friendly relationship with its neighbours and one should remember that China is a strong nation in comparison.

    • To be honest india is not so weak and it’s millitary rank is 4 in the world. And it has also many strong allies

  11. Whats needed is a diplomatic longstanding resolution and permanent settlement of borders with China. Challenges ar only going to increase if border issue is kept unresolved. A practical approach of give and take with future in mind is perhaps the best way. Modi dispensation fears that their government strongmen image will take a beating if they seem to be yielding. Reality is we are loosing ground while image being sent is we are pushing back. This perception management is shortsighted. But Modi does not want to risk political capital for whats good for country.

  12. Your statement change with every article.
    You are not at front and you just do guess work.
    It is quite misleading.

  13. Buddhism originated in India and followed by China ,we all thought they are our friends. But they back stabbed us..Lost our territory in 1962. Genuine efforts are taken by present govt..And we have stand with . But what is happening, the Hindu paper shamelessly publishes china advt not even mentioning the corona disease started by then, This fellow Rahul says hd will chase away chinese troops in 15 minutes,perhaps he is in delirium due to drug …We will fight as patriotic Indians..

  14. In the end, Modi did not make a whit of difference to India’s ability to defend itself! The Indian Military failed as usual against China. It lost more territory and was kicked around again. It has always been like this. Even the sulphurous odour of fear against China has not disappeared.

    India likes to think of itself as the other pole of Asia, equating itself to its Northern neighbour, much to China’s amusement. After this drubbing, all it can do is lick its wounds and pretend nothing has happened. Maybe, just maybe, the Indian Establishment will become aware and realise what real power looks like and how it is wielded, and the country’s place in the global pecking order.

  15. I wouldn’t be surprised if author for unknown reasons sold out to Chinese interests. “ Modi has popularity and political skills “ to to make Indian public swallow this bitter pill which even Nehru did not want to shove through our throats.

  16. If Indian acceptance of the 1959 Chinese claim line -wherein the area is uninhabited and the actual line could be settled through negotiated minor adjustments in its alignment in Ladakh – is in the long-term interests of India. Such a settlement also assumes Chinese acceptance of the McMohan line in the Eastern Sector. Just as Pakistan is not in a position to alter the status in J&K, India is in no position to change it in Ladakh.

  17. Build a road then create a claim. And then repeat it again now in GB. I leave our response to the experts but popularity or political skill does not belong to the leader but bestowed upon by the populace. It is a trust. One statement praising Jinnah ( for his non-existent secularism) lost Advani everything.

  18. It seems the author of this article is one among the various columnists who are paid heavily by the Chinese PLA for inciting a sense of loss in India minds without fighting a war. The author seems to be a part and parcel of Chinese PLA propaganda campaigner who is trying to quote only those past border transactions and communications which will prove his loyalty to the Chinese Considerations which he has received and he may get paid to write more such articles. Shame . Shame. .. Don’t sell your pen to money… Remember ! This is an educated India and every Indian can write , read,report,and interpret the underlying intentions of these kind of Immoral and Chinese paid articles..

  19. The narrators perspective is a line of thought that is relevant amongst the options. It’s evaluation needs to be part of a far-sifted assessment of long term national perspectives and strategy that will predominantly Address 2 points. a) what’s is India’s definition of its national boundary ? since all one hears is what China thinks, while India’s response remains at best firm yet defensive towards a clear ‘status-quo’. Is that it ? Or do we have an aspiration towards another ‘status-quo’ i.e. The pre-1950 status quo that sees Aksai Chin as much vehemently a part of India as POK. If there ever was any better time to make our stand Substantially clear – that rare blessing in disguise opportunity is now as i) we have an aggressor that has incited a challenge where we are at liberty not only to repudiate their claim, but also reinforce what is our sovereign claim and ii) we have a leadership that has merit, capability and (hopefully) the resolve to make this clear AND b) what is India’s Geo-political strategy In the neighborhood vis-a-vis China ? Consider this – Geographically historic China is only half of what it is. China usurped Tibet & Inner Mongolia and insulated itself from both Russia & India. India wouldn’t do that – but India needs to stand up for at least Tibet’s autonomy through a strong, elaborate and tenacious strategy driving Tibet’s independence with consistent and persistent echo of correcting an unchallenged that the world has turned a blind-eye to for over 70 years. That is necessary to arrest China’s expansionist belligerence in our neighborhood.

  20. The author writes:
    “We are in no position to take back Aksai Chin and other areas in Chinese occupation in the foreseeable future.”
    Why should India limit its long-term goals as to what is achievable in the forseeable future?

  21. The author is completely out of touch of reality and is not thinking in a way that helps his own country. I pity Indians to have such a guy in army.
    First, India needs to declare what it wants from China and make sure Indian interests converge with other powers of the world.
    Second, India should keep the border issue ALIVE because it works for India’s advantage too..How? line of perception changes with the perception of power of the state and I firmly believe India will benefit in longer term.
    Final point, no matter what, Tibet should be liberated that is the only way to keep china away from our doorstep and show the rest of the world, India is not rising anymore, but it has already risen. This is exactly what China did to India during 1962. China did not want to win the war but wanted to show the rest of world they are the leaders of African-Asian post-colonial countries.
    Apart from above issues, i would like to leave a comment for Print.in. Please stop printing such coward articles and making Indians question their own ability.
    Below are issues i see with this author:
    1. Author is short-sighted
    2. Complete lack of creative thinking in terms of Strategic and Tactical needs of India. Author did not contribute in anyway by suggesting new ideas rather stuck on old thinking
    3. Do not let an army person print his opinion on the political needs of India and let china wave it in Indias face
    4. Never negotiate a deal when you are in weaker position. Wait for your time. it might not be today, but there will be a day. work for it starting today.
    Finally, If Mr.Panag and his generation cannot get Aksai Chin back then at least make sure that future generation has the ability to do so.

  22. Really pitiable. Let us negotiate and put our proposals fwd. with might. Yet China is mighty as it is No.2 economy but India now is its big customer and Indian Army in 2020 can match China.SOMEWHERE, sHEKHAR gUTA WHO IS PART TIME EMPLOYED IS OUT TO WEAKEN INDIA. mODI,TOO,IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHINA’S ADVANCEMENT IN LADAKH. CHINA IS NOT TRUSTWORTHY AT ALL AND CAN FLOUT ANTY AGGREMENT. EVEN IF NEW CHINAWAL IS CREATED AS A BORDER, CHINA CAN SLIP HERE TOO.

  23. China can buy any thing including print. Going forward most of the media will say we should avoid war. All are soldouts. Few of them paki and chinese agents like Ashok. They do targeted intelligence that means convince weak minded ppl

  24. What will India achieve by acquiescing to the Chinese 1959 line? Absolutely nothing. So if a resolution doesn’t happen now, we should let it fester until we are in a better position to capture it back. All the rest of the author’s arguments are politically motivated. He wants Modi to kill his own political capital to serve the interests of his Nehru-Gandhi dynastic masters.

  25. If this is to be done what the author suggests then why do we spend billions of dollars for the defence of the country…? No doubt this man and many others like him are the Chinese tools of their hybrid war against India.

  26. This article proves that India is a land of traitors to patriots and in between. What is sad to know is that this writer served in Army in past.

  27. If this defeatist attitude and ‘tail between the legs’ attitude had existed in Israel the country would have ceased to exist long ago. Our challenge is not the tough terrain, it is the weak mindset that thinks war is not good for our reputation and dialogue will help resolve the issue. China considers India a weak neighbour, it is evident in their statements and their actions on the border. Give them a few inches and they will take a mile.. again and again and again. What a disgraceful article from an ex army officer promoting cowardice in the name of strategy and solutions.

  28. “the larger boundary issue cannot be left to the Generals.” If so
    1)IN future if army fails to stop china’s aggressive (as usual ) move then it will be termed as lose of critical locations to china by political bosses. Are you ok for that?
    2) Is china and Pakistan are reliable and dependable? People not forget kargil war, may be author forget it.

  29. Knowing Modi’s nature who is yet to name China author might be reflecting govt’s intent? Should India be really serious they should start with disputing China’s claim on Tibet.

  30. Comments by Ben Sud are ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON. Panag means SNAKE. He is very careful not get cought as traitorous while being exactly that. First he talks as if he is countering the Chinese, but as he concludes, he always shows some fictitious compulsions for India, suggesting surrender to China as the best option. Waiting for the day to see him behind the bars one day.

  31. This man sugarcoats the Chinese scheme. We need an unsettled border till (1) India becomes a permanent member of the UNSC, (2) Regains POK (3) Beefs up military might to match the PLA and (4) Becomes an economic power at par with China. This may take a period of one more generation, it really doesn’t matter. We will continue to live with an hostile border and see that Panag gets no dollars from the Chinese.

  32. Although this is hard to digest for most of us Indians, the author raises several valid points. On one hand we want the northeast to remain part of India on the other we disrespect them by calling them chinki. India needs to wake up soon. I love India but we need to work harder for our people and learn to share more. Rise India Rise.

  33. The (obviously mischievous) question raised by Lt. Gen) is thankfully answered by Rahul Gandhi yesterday. He declared that if UPA comes to power, it will throw out Chinese in no time. Lt. Gen should now look up to Rahul to solve this issue with China and not bother Modi about it!!!

    This article does not deserve any further comments!!

  34. Generals perspective thou true, looks negative while reading. Picture looks scary. Wonder what these political honchos were doing for last 70 years

  35. I am glad this guy is no longer serving in the Indian army. He and two other wimps by the names of Ajay Shukla and Pravin Sawhney have been busy trying to demoralise the Indian military for quite some time now. Chetan Bhagat is yet another fart keeping them company. It is time the intelligence agencies checked whether some of the so-called defence analysts are on the payroll of China.

  36. The Writer is a retired army general but the article is not showing the bravery but a defeatist soldier.

  37. Good suggestion. The best compromise would be to align the border in such a way that there is breathing space to both the D-S-DBO and G219 roads. A give and take process to make this happen would be ideal. Also, shepherds from both sides should be allowed to follow their age-old seasonal migration paths to the high alpine meadows – it should be decoupled from territorial claims.

    That’s the best way for Modi to save face, and emerge with statesman-like colours. As rightly pointed out, neither are we going to gain their territory easily , or vice versa.It’s time to put the dispute to rest for good.

  38. All these discussion miss the most crucial point. That is status of Tibet. India do not share any border with China. Officially, Tibet is an autonomus region so what is PLA doing there? India must insist and move UN to force China remove PLA from Tibet. China has a well marked boundary, The great Chinese wall. PLA must stay east of Chinese wall.

  39. To be honest what date and claim line matters when the country breaks all past agreements and walks in and out every year with no regard to other country sovereignty or positions. What makes a paper like Print think China will not make some atrocious historical claim to parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand and even New Delhi because some Chinese scholars visited and lived in Lal Bagh. This type of approach and bullying is bat shit crazy and this will not be settled without bloodshed or a great funnel clouds. No amount of talks can succeed with people who put the great wall in front of every conversation and rule. China is a bully and there is no method to madness. It is sheer madness and we are dealing with mad dogs. As usual being a chinese mouth piece sympathetic to those positions you can gloat and groan as ever. For average Indians, China is not a nation worth trusting or dealing with. We live closing our nose and taking it since they are our unfortunate neighbors. May be we should liberate Tibet with the global community and that may free up India dealing with the crap smell on the other side.

  40. Superb article: If only same respect is given to Pakistani claims that Kashmir be handed over to Pakistan because:

    -Its people do not want to live with India

    -Majority of population is still Muslim

    In fact Pakistan claim over Kashmir is far stronger than China claim over Ladakh !!!

  41. So basically the author is saying that we have to give up our claims of Aksai Chin and settle for a permenant boundary settlement.In an ideal world it would have been good to settle this once and for all.Suppose we agree to it,what is the guarantee that the Chineese won’t come up with fresh claims after it’s all settled again? Can we trust the Chineese?If this would have lead to a permenant settlement then we can bite the bullet.But what’s the guarantee that the Chineese will stop there ?

  42. I was also thinking on the same lines, its really hard to digest the fact that the writer held such a high post in Indian army.

    If he has such a mindset after retirement, I am wondering what kind of leadership he had provided to the troops during his service. Instead of increasing the morale of people under his command things would had gone in other direction.

  43. We’re not in a strong position because we have given importance to jai jawan jai kisan – it’s about time to shun this nonsensical groupism and promote engineers/entrepreneurs. These latter are the nation builders, we can always import food and create autonomous fighters but can never import engineers and entrepreneurs.
    Gen Panag has eaten up a lot of tax payers money already. He should blame himself and OROP for a not so militarily strong India.

    • Our economy is just one fifth of CHina’s. So, that limits our defence capability . It’s simply not possible for
      us to try and match China in weapons and acquisitions. That is the basic message that Xi is putting across, even if he’s not gunning for a war.
      We can ignore a settlement and build a defensive fortress along whatever is left of the LAC positions, but in the long term it is economically unviable and it’s good if Modi and Xi sit down to work out the best compromise.

  44. The tone and tenure of this writeup leads to the folliowing conclusions:
    1. The mindset and the morale of the narrator is negative and defeatist.
    2. The narration is from Chinese point of view.
    3. Total lack of confidence in India’s capabilities, capacities, men and machines.
    4. Totally sold on Chinese ‘propaganda’
    Wonder what the author,this publication and its editors are trying to achieve and in what direction they aim to inflence the general consumer of this news.
    Pity !

    • Disagree. This crisis would be worth it if it leads to curtains being finally closed on the long running territorial disputes. India’s core interest in not Aksai Chin. It is securing the Mcmahon Line , which is the LAC in the Eastern sector. Aksai Chin is China’s core concern. If China drops its untenable demands on Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh and agrees to a settlement along the McMahon Line and in return India agrees to its 1959 claim line in the west it would be a fair , reasonable and sensible compromise. No side would be trading any settled area currently under its control so it should be a solution easy to sell to the people too.

    • What you’ve just said in your comment is typical Indian denial of facts and reality of matters as they are. This has unfortunately become the norm in India and anyone who will state facts like Gen Panag will be labelled a traitor having some agenda against the Angelic Modi Govt. While Modi Bhakts that include Jokers like Maj G Arya and Arnab G , whose agenda is to lie day and night to protect the image of the Govt are revered as fountains of truth
      Sadly, being Anti Modi Govt and its policies means being Anti National in India.

    • Spot on, this is an issue with democracy a person can say any thing on any platform. It is disappointing to see this much negativity coming from a defense personnel, appears to me his grievance is primarily based on personal grudge not sure with whom! This retired gentleman is continuously spitting venom towards his country and in my opinion should be booked.

    • Seems the writer got Param Vishisht Seva Medal . No doubt this award is in recognition to “peace-time” service of the most exceptional order. Pity on government of the past who have given such a mentality any kind of medal.

    • anything that doesnt suit your narrative is propaganda. what is the solution according to you?what other cards does the indian govt have on the table. think practically. lack of confidence in men, machines? are you saying we will win in a war against the chinese with the current resources. and do you think our economy can support a war. the writer is a highly respected name in the defence community . and he has not talked negative about your favorite PM either. then what is your point of view.

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