It seems that,Chinese have not heard of “Do not disturb a bee hive, it means trouble for you”,,a wise saying of Arya Chanakya. At Galwan, China disturbed Indian Army (IA) and has ended up with more trouble than they have bargained for. She now knows what India can mete out to them and will get more if they continue to ask for it. Her perpetual habit to lie, deception, attempting to change facts on ground, disregard for a rules-based order, presenting themselves as an injured party; is well known World Forum. China must remember that, Ladakh is not South China Sea and India is not a Vietnamese fishing boat “Jisko jee chahe tab masal de”. In present crisis, China has miscalculated and ended up in achieving results just opposite to what it set out to do. Galwan clash is going to be a “Watershed” for China in coming days.
Sino Indian disputed borders represent isolated high altitude regions with difficult terrain and weather conditions presenting problems for troops, weapons and equipment. Ground combat will occur mainly along roads that normally follow valleys or ridges, limiting support and cooperation between forces operating on different axes. The lack of cross-terrain mobility limits the ability of ground forces to conduct penetrating or outflanking operations against enemy forces. The Chinese intrusions in Ladakh have been a regular feature in the past, however, the present intrusion into the Indian territory is not a regular one for following reasons:
o DBO is the Eastern most point of the Karakoram Range located about 8 Km South of Chinese border and 9 Km North West of Aksai Chin LAC.
o The Karakoram Pass lies to the North West of DBO at a distance of approximately 17 Km.
o China has strong objection to Indian infrastructure projects, even though they are on the Indian side of LAC.
o The area between Karakorum Range and Kunlun Range including the area of Gosthana(Aksai Chin is a relatively recent Chinese sponsored Uighur name. Ladakhis & Tibetans called it by the Sanskrit name ’Gosthana’=place of the cows) is very vital to China.
o Gosthana is essential to Chinese control of not only Western Tibet but the whole of Tibet.
Lieutenant General Zhao Zongqi and Xi Jin Ping, both from Shaanxi Province, are childhood buddies who participated in Sino Indian War of 1962 as Mao’s child soldiers on ancillary duties. Zhao is an ambitious man who continued in PLA, mastered and perfected the Art of Mass Ambushes during the Sino-Vietnam war of 1979 and ultimately rose to achieve rank of Lieutenant General. Xi went to Politics and ultimately became President of CC. Zhao was Xi’s handpicked choice for heading the newly created Western Theatre Command in 2016 when Xinjiang and Tibetan Military Commands were integrated into the Western Theatre Command. Zhao was made the member of the 19th Central Committee in 2017 but looked over for position of the Vice Chairman of CMC after the retirement of General Fan Chonglong. It was then that, he started looking for ways to make the Party realise his potential.
Zhao knew every inch and corner of the Indian border, at least the Eastern and Central sectors, including Nathu La, where the famous fist-fight incident had occurred. Therefore his plan to intrude into peace loving Bhutan would have fetched him his objective, had it succeeded. India intervened in strength. 72 day long standoff at Doklam threatened to submerge the Indian subcontinent under the clouds of war. But talks between Xi Jin Ping and Narendra Modi at Wuhan defused tense atmosphere and both sides withdrew honourably to previous positions/locations.This must have hurt Xi’s pride and terribly angered Zhao,for his plan to impress CPC went down the drain. So Zhao was searching/looking for an opportunity to avenge Doklam and show the Party that he had the determination to force his will on his adversaries.As a result, the current standoff with India was planned in the early months of 2020. The intrusion was supposed to be so shamefacedly aggressive that India would be forced to capitulate and surrender its positions. He also calculated that going into a previously settled place like Galwan Valley would be advantageous as India would not be expecting any action there. Zhao tasked units of Xinjiang Military District to harass Indian Patrols on the Northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake and removed all restrictions on their actions. Similarly, units of Tibet Military District were told to move into Galwan, Hot Springs and Depsang plains and try and rake up hostilities deliberately with IA.
Considerable number of Troops from PLA Training Exercises in WTC; A) For Offensive and Defensive Operations in Mountain, Cold Weather Warfare Training and Long Distance Movement of Units, conducted in end April/beginning May, 20 in Central Tibet and B) Test Proficiency of Stride, Joint Action and Firepower of Mobile Troops along with Storm Troops of WTC, conducted in North East Region of Axai Chin on 07 June,20 to move long distances by multiple means to reinforce another region and engage in combat; were probably held back by Zhao for intrusion in Galwan Complex. If one sys that; what General Parvez Musharraf did in Kargil to avenge humiliating Pak Debacle in 1971 of which he was an active member/participant and witnessed; was replicated by General Zhao Zongqi who was unhappy due to unilateral Chinese withdrawal in 1962 and forced compromise in Doklam in Galwan; he won’t be much off mark.
At the start of Galwan Conflict; Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a clear statement. “We will not blink”. Galwan Incursion has overshadowed Underway Limited Disengagement and Mobilsed Ground/Air/Missile Forces from both sides have staged forward. The question everybody is asking is “Will we see de escalation or escalation of conflict?”.Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, it is going to be a long haul, during which China, for sure, will resort to Vicious Propaganda, Threats, Psychological Warfare,Twisted Legalities, Violation of Agreements, Altering Facts, Lies and Deceit. China has played its hand and it is our turn now. We need to leverage to get back to “Status Quo Ante” as on 04 May,2020. Our response must be Politically Firm since China is conducting this entire operation politically.
In addition to prevailing Old and Time Tested Options for such scenario; gallant and brave action of 16 Bihar and the nearby Gunners/Medicos/Engineers at Galwan has opened few new options. Major amongst them is India opening the Old Silk Route with all its insidious implications and a resurgent America establishing an Island base in South China Sea. If India could put it in practice, sacrifice by Col Santosh Babu and all those who laid down their lives at Galwan defending Indian Honour will NOT BE WASTED. We owe to them not only this but our Weapon Modernisation. Similarly; if each of us spend a rupee less in buying Chinese Items that will be a rupee well saved to honour our gallant soldiers. People of India must push back against China. In between these options there are a range of options in the Political, Diplomatic, Military, and Economic Spheres.
China could have undertaken premeditated, widespread offensive against India from Sikkim to Ladakh using Pakistan and Nepal as its Cat’s Paws but instead she has played a High Stake Gamble. By raking up trouble in Galwan, she seemed to have shut her far Western ‘Rear Door’ in a pre emptive offensive. Her sea facing Eastern ‘Front Door’ is still intact due to weakness and incoherent Strategic Response by Littoral States round South China Sea, America and her Allies. Her Military Commanders must have planned this in late April, 2020 but embarked on it on 5/6 May,20 as a Low cost, Low threshold, Muscle flexing, Demonstrative, Non Tactical Operation. She did not want an All Out War and so avoided going in for Indian Inner Lines of Defence. China knows that she cannot ‘militarily force the issue’ across Himalayas as she does not have the where withal/strength to do so. Reinforcements to beef up/ boost up Chinese stakes has to come from Mainland China which India will equally match IN NO TIME.
Any such action on part of China would open her East Coast Defences. To do this, it is mandatory for China to dip into reserves meant for Internal Control of Uighirs/Tibetians Insurgents as well Pashtuns/Baluch Warriors wanting to strike China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). By advancing in Galwan Complex, China has inadvertently unlocked its vulnerable rear door. Now; Xinjiang, Tibet, Shaksgam Valley and CPEC are waiting to be exploited by India for Short/Long Term Gains. Chinese will be in for real trouble if India decide to take/takes this action alongside present situation in Galwan Complex. Who knows, if this crises prolongs for very long duration, India might resort to this option which might create greater the problem for China as this may/will entail deprivation of Troops for other eventuality(s).
On Strategic Front, three American Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carriers have entered South China Sea Area along with some 105 own Ships/Ships from littoral countries, who are going to pivot situation around Taiwan and Japan.On other hand, China has only one operational Aircraft Carrier and one under preparation, along with 40 Ships against this Formidable Force. So, strategically, China is in deep trouble.Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Singapore and South Korea, all have suffered one time or other, the wrath of Chinese advances/aggression and Salami Slicing Tactics. Taiwan and Hong Kong are hot thorns in the Chinese flesh. Except for few countries in Africa/South America and countries like Serbia, Pakistan, North Korea and Italy, no body supports China in World Forum. Even Russia is also neutral as was demonstrated during very recent World War 2 Victory Day Parade Celebrations in Moscow when she promised Critical Military Hardware to India in spite of Chinese objections. On other front, G Seven Plus, QUAD, Five Eyes Intelligence are drastically gearing up to oppose China.
On Economic Front too, things are not rosy for China. Exports are shockingly dwindling; Imports are down indicating low consumption; Growth is in Negative Zone; Factories are losing orders; CPEC and BRI have almost collapsed; Alternate Health and Digital Silk Roads are Non Starters; Made in China 2025 Plan is heading towards derailment; Chinese efforts to make Yuan an International Tender is buried in South China Sea.
Overall, China has a Navy which is hemmed in the South China Sea; PLA cannot force the issue against India; Covid 19 Corona Virus has reared its ugly head in Central China; Chinese concepts of Aggressive Geopolitics and Dual Diplomacy are not working; Her economy is misfiring/has already misfired; Internal Tensions in Tibet, Xingjian and CPEC are already surfacing and will spill over soon. China is over stretched and under Internal/External Pressure which, if allowed to continue/continues, will make China reach criticality faster than anticipated. After 22 June,20 talks at level of Lieutenant Generals of both countries, things have started moving again in right directions. Jst before the talks were to begin, Lieutenant General Xu Qiling had taken over command of WTC.General Xu is also one of Xi’s trusted man who belongs to a peasent’s family and had played a critical role in crushing the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Before this he was commander for the WTC's PLAGF.Probably, General Xu has been brought in to coordinate the fronts in Sikkim and Ladakh.
Russia has emerged as a key diplomatic player amid the tension between India and China.On Tuesday,23 June,20; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted Russia India China (RIC) Trilateral Foreign Minister Meeting, which was first opportunity for External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for face time with each other.On Wednesday,24 June,20; Moscow hosted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe, who will attended WW2 Victory Day Parade. While these are Ministerial level engagements, there have been at least two outreaches between India and Russia through diplomatic channels. Early this month, before the 06 June,20,Lieutenant General-level talks between India and China, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla “updated” Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev on the “recent developments” on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).After the June 15 clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan, Indian Ambassador to Russia D Bala Venkatesh Varma had a conversation with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on 17June,20. India has a historical relationship with Russia, spanning over seven decades. While the relationship has grown in some areas and waned in others, the strongest pillar of the strategic partnership is of the Defence Basket. India has made this decision to reach out to Russia not just out of choice, but also out of necessity, since it believes Moscow has leverage and influence to shape and change Beijing’s hard stance on border issue.
Though, both countries are capable of taking necessary steps to prevent such situations in the future and to ensure that there is predictability and stability in the region, one must take into account, feudal past, ancient customs and expansionist attitude strongly anchored in minds of Chinese Leadership that they are superior to everybody on surface of earth and therefore, others must bow down before them. Anybody fails to do so must be severely punished. In 20th Century, China has changed course from Chiang kai Shek’s Nationalism, to Mao’s Revolutionism, to Deng’s Consolidation to Xi’s Revisionist Expansionism. Chinese Psyche now professes a Myopic Greed to become the only SUERPOWER at any cost. China pursues a policy called ‘da da, tan tan’ – ‘fight fight, talk talk’. A strategy deeply embedded in the Chinese character. For China, it is very simple, if someone offers you to talk, you talk, but it doesn’t mean that you stop fighting. Time has come to return the favor to China in their own language – ‘Bù shuōhua, zhī chāojiá’ that is ‘No talking, only fighting’.Only such steps will make China understand saying of Arya Chanakyaa quoted above.