STRATEGIC EYE: A column on current Indian, national and global issues
By Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu*
India and China stand-off in the Himalayan region of eastern Ladakh on 16th June 2020 took place in the Galwan Valley and in the scuffle India lost brave hearts and few Indian soldiers were martyred. Loss of battalion soldiers is extremely sad and the present situation is grim.
It seems Chinese side came in large numbers forcefully and intruded into Indian territory violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In last 45 years incident of such and loss of lives in such a volume did not happen. The commanding officer from Indian side fought well and led from the front which is considered one of the best part of fighting in the leadership position in the military.
On 6th June 2020, both the sides met and had diplomatic discussions. Defense minister also met with the group and made a statement indicating towards the rapprochement and Chinese for amicably resolving the situation. While all were under the impression that talks were going on well and instead of disengagement this type of unfortunate incident happened on 16th June 2020. It is clear that Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) does not want India to construct a road going toward Galwan valley.
China is grappling with numerous problems these days as it is known that after throwing public health systems across the world out of gear with its alleged mishandling of COVID-19, China is now hell-bent on violating the sovereignty of its neighbours and busy in territory conflict.
China is struggling with a number of domestic issues like lack of economic growth, unemployment, trade war with the US, manufacturing sectors are facing problems, problems with Taiwan, and Hongkong out of many other geopolitical issues and concerns. There are a large number of issues that today China is struggling to settle with and initiating such a situation in the India-China border region to divert the attention from its domestic problems is a significant one.
Though Indian soldiers will continue to look into the eyes of the Chinese soldiers directly and will not give any chance or allow any adversaries to happen. The Indian side should react fast both on the land as well as, the information sharing is concerned it should be quick enough.
India needs to show much stronger resolutions than what India has shown all these days. Going forward it is important to show how the Indian government wants to resolve the issue, either through diplomacy or through political channels it should be very clear.
These kind of incidents are unimaginable and scales in which this has happened are absolutely unacceptable. If military to military talks takes place then it should happen formally with a white flag up and with proper protection.
Weather on 16th June incident firing took place or not that was not sufficient, but people were killed whether through stone pelting, with barbed wires or rods, loss of life took place that is important to note. The build-up is already there so now there is a need to understand whether one would like to escalate the situation or resolve it peacefully. It is clear that now China is not going to leave that easily too.
China’s western command sides are very active and both at the military level and at the foreign ministry level their statements are coming out. Today, real-time information is available fast unlike older times as nowadays, things are different and technological advancement is much more than earlier times. In the higher level India must take up the decisions fast as taking a longer time will not work well keeping India’s national interest in mind.
*Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu (Ph.D) international relations expert and foreign policy analyst