Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Want to help Indian soldiers at LAC? Stop spreading assumptions about Galwan clash

Having faith in the political leadership and armed forces is a must in such periods of uncertainty. Let peace prevail at LAC without a Himalayan blunder.

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At a time when the belligerence of China is playing out at the Line of Actual Control, and our soldiers have braved the onslaught of the People’s Liberation Army and sacrificed their lives while retaliating in equal measure, the last thing I wanted to see was the wisdom and actions of those involved being questioned. Because that is what the opening lines of the statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office on the all-party meeting held on 19 June does when it says, “Attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretations to remark by the PM at the APM”.

The Army has a mechanism to learn from every development, and we will see it in due course. But, to question each action, when the tactical and strategic issues are yet to unfold in those icy heights and other areas, will harm the interests as well as the morale of the armed forces.

Also read: Modi shouldn’t allow China to use his words as vindication of their Galwan stance: Manmohan 

Trust the soldiers

In a situation where the adverse elements that confront the soldiers — the terrain, remoteness, the icy temperatures, the intention of the Chinese PLA, the rules of engagement, etc — are at their worst, the actions and reactions of the soldiers in units and subunits are driven by their deep-rooted beliefs and their group cohesiveness.

It will be very difficult for someone who has not served physically in such adverse situations to appreciate and understand the behaviour of the soldiers in combat. There are media reports about continued buildup of forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh on both sides, which indicates that the entire episode is not likely to end anytime soon.

Indian troops are the best fighting soldiers. It is the need of the hour to have implicit trust in them. But, the soldiers need moral support from the people of their country to accomplish their mission. This is not to suggest that the guilty should not be held accountable for their commissions or omissions. These issues can be addressed once the dust settles. But, it is imperative that the unit and subunit morale remains high at all times to take on any adverse situation with flying colours.

So, while social media users have the freedom to express their opinions, it may be prudent to reflect on the possible impact of irresponsible actions, including statements from some veterans. The enemy is known to exploit and manipulate adverse content of internal debates to its advantage.

Also read: In Ladakh’s Leh, people are caught between coronavirus and border tensions with China

Don’t spread misinformation

As the famous military thinker Clausewitz once said, “War is not an independent phenomenon, but continuation of politics by other means”. The decision makers in the government, too, need the support of all sections of society at such critical junctures. They depend on multiple inputs provided to them by various agencies to make correct decisions under extreme situations of ambiguity.

There would be many people providing information or input without themselves being in a position to comprehend the entire gamut of the situation unfolding in Ladakh. Hence, it is only natural that any infirmity and falsehood of inputs should also be dealt with in the manner it deserves. Such acts or commissions of negligence should be taken to task in order to avoid further embarrassment to the government of the day.

People coming up with speculations and assumptions coloured with political leanings must temper their shrill voices and wait until relative peace and tranquility is restored at the LAC. We, who are not in the know of what transpired at Galwan, should contribute by avoiding false narratives.

It is time we wait and watch the emerging geo-political scenario in the region and prepare ourselves for a longer haul this time around. At the same time, it is imperative that the authorities make endeavours to take all political parties on board and Indian citizens into confidence. Having faith in the political leadership and in our armed forces is a must in such periods of uncertainty. Let peace prevail at the LAC without a Himalayan blunder this time.

Lt Gen (Dr) Konsam Himalay Singh (retd) commanded his Battalion during the Kargil War in Turtuk Sector (Ladakh) and in Siachen Glacier. He served as Divisional and Corps Commander in Jammu and Kashmir. Views are personal.

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  1. If the people at the responsible positions do not issue statements which are in conflict with each other and tell the denizens the actual ground realities nobody would speculate. If the PM had explained in simple words as to what actually happened around LAC there may not been any rouble rousing forcing the PMO to issue clarification. Ghuma ghuma ke lachhae banana desh ke defence ke mamle mein theek nahi hai. Veterans ko ya opposition ko dosh dene se fayada nahi hai .Abhi desh bhakt khatm nahi hue hain. Sahi baat bolne wale desh drohi nahi hote.

  2. The biggest source of misinformation and disinformation in a conflict are the governments and this is called propaganda warfare. Local critics can be dubbed anti national but how can one censor the wold media.In today’s Daily Telegraph published from London there is news about local BJP councillor Ms.Urgain Chodon being furious with Modi for hiding the true facts. The following is a quote from the article.
    “Urgain Chodon, a councillor for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Ladakh, has told the Telegraph that China has occupied far more land than previously disclosed – and that the government has turned a blind eye.
    “There is a lot of land which has been annexed by China, not only this time in the Galwan Valley but all along the LAC [Line of Actual Control],” Ms Chodon, who represents eight border villages, said.
    “I have been raising my voice and even meeting with the local administration. They know about it but neither the government or the media have raised their voices about it,” she added. “My father would go to Nilong, a big valley, with cattle but today there are Chinese structures and their Army.
    “Our pasture lands are gone, lots of people are losing their herds. Some are selling their cattle now and moving towards the city to find some other work.”
    In addition to Nilong, Ms Chodon identified Laagok Noonbo, Dumchalai and Belung as areas previously under Indian control and visited by shepherds but now annexed by China.She said her warnings to the Army and governments were going unanswered, even though both were aware Chinese occupation had occurred as Beijing had been constructing roads and structures to the territory.”
    From the above remarks to a foreign newspaper it seems Ms.Urgain Chodon is in no mood to accept the advice to have “faith in the political leadership and the army”.

  3. Problem is more with the ex senior service men, with some personal egos and with political leanings.
    Political class in India is loose cannon, without any responsibility or anything to loss.
    They know that there is nothing like public memory , which may harm them in the long run.

  4. Good advice for the citizenry. But please dont hide behind rules of engagement for getting killed. we dont want to lose you to the enemy.

  5. So our PM will lie, with impunity, and one can’t counter those lies.

    We are expected to behave like sheep?

    Are nation and political party the same things?

    • At what point did our PM lied ??
      Its you who because of your political bias consider everything PM says is false . You would rather believe anti India elements’ fiction than Modi’s truth just because it gives you fodder canon to see Modi in bad light . How shameless are you ?

  6. This article should be made mandatory reading for every member of the Congress first family and it’s sycophants.

  7. When a ship gets into a storm, the trust and faith has to be placed in the Captain. Every Tom ,Dick and Harry does not question the Captain.

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