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HomeEconomyCall of Duty: Two Years After Galvan, Chinese Challenge Combat MPNRC
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Call of Duty: Two Years After Galvan, Chinese Challenge Combat MPNRC

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Two years ago, on the morning of June 16, 2020, India received the shocking news that 20 Indian soldiers, including their commanding officer, Colonel Santosh Babu, were killed in a skirmish with Chinese soldiers at the Galwan river bend. Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. A large number of Indian soldiers were also injured. An unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed in the conflict, and some were wounded, including their regimental commander, Colonel Qi Fabio.

The Galwan incident, as it is known, and the Chinese military incursion in the month before it, have returned relations between India and China to a bad level, as it did after the 1962 war.

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The disputed border in eastern Ladakh a month before the Galwan incident, Chinese army incursions at several points across the LAC, was a brazen attempt at ‘salami slicing’ to grab the disputed area. By doing so, in the four decades following the visit of the then Indian Foreign Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Beijing in 1979, China has in one stroke wiped out all positive efforts to improve relations. The last of these positive developments were summit level meetings in Wuhan, China in April 2018 and Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu in October 2019.

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The Chinese commander, Major General Liu Lin, at the post-incursion Corps Commander-level talks to resolve the issue, on the Chinese commander, Major General Liu Lin, pulling back his troops on the Chinese side of the LAC at the Galwan River bend and separating let agreed. , one of the points of infiltration, by the evening of June 15, 2020. Clashes broke out that night when Indian soldiers heading to the Galwan River bowed to confirm their return to the Chinese, instead being attacked by the Chinese troops they had faced. region. Though initially a surprise, after that the Indian troops regrouped and gave as best they could. According to the mutual protocol prevailing at that time, no lethal weapons were used, otherwise the casualties on both sides would have been very high. The Chinese side accepted only four fatal casualties on its side.

However, in January this year, there was an investigative report by an Australian newspaper which said that at least 38 additional Chinese soldiers were killed as a result of clashes that night while they attempted to flee by swimming in the fast-flowing Galwan. Were were River in sub-zero temperatures. So far, there has been no serious Chinese refutation of that report.

Two years have passed since several Chinese incursions across the LAC in eastern Ladakh and a month later, on that fateful night, skirmishes took place on the Galwan river. It was also significant that, in August 2020, in a surprise retaliation, Indian Army troops occupied strategically important heights on the Kailash range south of Pangong Tso lake, preventing further incursions by Chinese troops into that area. was stopped. In fact, the move eventually forced China to agree, in February 2021, to return to both sides of the Pangong Tso, as the first concrete step towards reversing the incursion, starting the dissolution process. to do.

There have been 15 rounds of talks between the military commanders of the two sides over the past two years so far, but Chinese troops have yet to fully disengage, from all friction points, until the status quo of April 2020, taking back control. have taken. ,

Recently, diplomatic talks were held under the aegis of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on Border Affairs and both sides agreed to continue the talks. Meanwhile, troops from both sides continue to deploy ‘eyeball to eyeball’ on the LAC, where tensions continue on a high pitch.

Both sides continue to develop military and civilian infrastructure on their respective sides of the LAC, much more on the Chinese side than on the Indian. More recently, as early as May 2022, satellite images have been published in the print media showing that a bridge across Pangong Tso Lake, previously constructed by the Chinese between December 2021 and April 2022, is now armored. The vehicles are also being upgraded for carrying. ,

Clearly, the Chinese side is trying to build roads and bridges to facilitate military movement along with so-called model villages to strengthen its hold on the disputed area between India and China in Aksai Chin, eastern Ladakh. Is. Similar construction is going on in front of Arunachal Pradesh. Obviously, building its infrastructure will facilitate future offensive actions by the Chinese military. General Charles Flynn, Commanding General US Army Pacific, recently described Chinese infrastructure construction as “dangerous” as well as “volatile and corrosive behavior”.

Therefore, the time has come to seriously review the events of the last two years, especially given that diplomatic and economic measures have not yielded substantial results so far. Surprisingly, on the military side, the crucial post of CDS has been lying vacant for the last six months, thus losing significant time towards adaptation and strengthening of our armed forces.

So, what does India need to do?

First, it needs to be acknowledged that the 2020 incursion into China was caused by a political decision to that effect – at the highest level, not a military decision by a rogue military commander. To that extent, the issue needs to be addressed primarily through political means. Relatedly, while engagement at the diplomatic and military level may have some effect, and needs to continue, these effects will be limited in effect. Even economic measures will have limited impact on curbing infiltration, as is evident from the results of the last two years. And most importantly, it is high time that the status quo is restored so that, without letting down our guard, serious talks can be held to resolve the border problem.

Second, it is a well-known truism that the only thing the Chinese respect is ‘strength’. If the Chinese side feels that India is weak, there will be many more incursions across the LAC as well as the construction of new roads, bridges, airfields and model villages in disputed areas in Aksai Chin and Arunachal. Two recent books by Indian authors have highlighted that China considers India weak since its easy victory over the Indian Army in 1962. Thus, the only way for China to respond appropriately is if India deals with a position of strength. A variety of means – in the political, economic, diplomatic, military and informational fields. In this direction, both internal and external measures should be implemented to enhance and emphasize our strength. This includes:

, building economic strength and resilience,

, Modernization and Upgradation of our Army

, cooperating with the US and other countries on the sharing of intelligence,

, Committing more strictly to Quad Grouping,

– Strengthening partnerships with traditional friends such as the US, EU countries, UK, Russia, ASEAN, South Asia and Gulf countries.

, Concurrently, we must continue to strengthen and highlight India’s commitment to our core values ​​of democracy, freedom, pluralism and human rights, which clearly differentiate us from China, which is, on the other hand, authoritarian, authoritarian and aggressive. is seen as. attitude and behaviour.

And third, most importantly, the strengthening and modernization of our military capability against China must be implemented swiftly. There are some steps in this regard:

, Adequate number of military formations and reserves – all well trained, motivated and attuned – should be available with the LAC throughout the year.

, For this it will also be necessary to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of modern equipment for the army – infantry, armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, air defence, aviation, engineers, signals and others – Which are well suited for high altitude and rough terrains along the LAC.

, There is a dire need to ensure accurate, real-time intelligence availability and round-the-clock battlefield awareness.

There will also be a need to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of modern fighter aircraft, attack helicopters and armed drones supported by automatic sensor-shooter mechanisms and logistic nodes, which are adequately stocked.

, Hi-tech anti-tank and anti-drone systems need to be available in sufficient numbers.

, We also need both offensive and defensive cyber capabilities to adapt.

, The construction of infrastructure should continue without any let-up.

, And, of course, as the two episodes have highlighted, a new CDS, whenever he is appointed, should be implemented at the earliest, preferably through theatre, to increase the jointness in the military to the maximum level. should do.

In short, there is no need to emphasize that the border problem between India and China needs to be resolved at the earliest. For that, as a first step, Chinese assertiveness in Eastern Ladakh should be reversed and Chinese troops made to respect the LAC as it existed before April 2020. Meanwhile, India must develop a comprehensive national power in a planned and time bound manner. ,

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