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Aggressive Chinese attitude in Ladakh; India should rework its strategies

14/10/2021 at 1:42 PM

By Arun  Joshi

It is  now absolutely clear that the tensions  are escalating on the Indo-China border in eastern Ladakh  and this will have great strategic implications for the  national security in its entirety as also create new  threats to its  territorial integrity and sovereignty .fault lines in the south Asian  geo-strategic landscape.

Over the past  one and a half years , the situation of standoff in eastern Ladakh , has seen many firsts  like the violent clashes in June last year and thereafter the half-hearted efforts to de-escalate and disengage  on the borders , there has been no straight-line approach by China , though it has been insisting  its reported faith in resolving issues through dialogue.

 As a result  of this  approach , now the situation has reached a point where it has moved beyond the military phrase of “ matter of concern”. It is a straight threat to the Indian sovereignty , and unfortunately India is left with no other option but to give a matching response in  the cold desert dotted by the high Himalayas through which the Line of Actual Control- LAC- passes through . The LAC defines the mutually accepted border between the two countries until the whole issue of the final demarcation of the boundary is done.

The exist9ng situation in which the tensions have escalated , and where the army has voiced serious concerns of  LAC becoming another LoC- Line of Control that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India  and Pakistan – is reflective of worsening of an already bad situation in the region .

Army chief  M M Naravane , while analyzing  situation on the Indo-Chinese border in  eastern Ladakh , had observed : “ If they ( Chinese ) continue to stay for the second winter ( 2021 and 2022) , it will definitely mean we will  be in the LoC kind of situation . “  This, when translated in the  military terms ,  means permanent deployment of troops and war machinery on the borders  which extracts a huge cost .

When the LAC also turns into LoC kind of situation , it means that it Indian army  will have to be vigilant two fronts  , and accordingly stretch its resources to ensure that it  is not caught unawares at the time when any misadventure is undertaken by the other side . The deployments at the LAC and LoC , in tactical terms  may mean looking at a situation at two different places  and against two countries . In practical terms , it means being alert to the combined strength of China and Pakistan , who are all-weather friends . Their reasons to stand up to India  may appear to be different  as China is  seeking to  undermine  India’s security and its influence at the world stage ,the fact that Beijing and Islamabad’s strategic interests in keeping India on toes converge at  the places  like Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied  Jammu and Kashmir , which legally belong to India , but are under the complete control of Pakistan. China’s ambitious  Belt and Road Initiative , the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor  ( CPEC) is a prestigious pilot project , passes through these areas that border Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh , which are now two  union territories  in the Indian union.

The continuous deployment of forces on these borders  have the potential to disturb the strategic  equilibrium  and it poses a serious threat to the Indian sovereignty on the territories . Pakistan can step up infiltration from across the LoC , forcing the Indian army not to take an eyelid off the situation there. The infiltration per se doesn’t constitute ceasefire violation , but  it is greatly interlinked to  ceasefire violation in a sense because it gives rise to the temperatures on the borderline , which directly impacts the internal situation in Kashmir . First, if the infiltration bid is successful – the armed terrorists succeed to sneak into the Indian territory from across the LoC- they serve as a military replenishment for the militants already active in J&K, and even when it is intercepted , it serves as morale booster to the militants and their sympathisers that there are groups and powers coming to their support . This is where the internal situation gets disturbed. The Indian army has become so much integral part of the counter-terrorism operations that there  has hardly been an encounter in which the army is not a participant. This leads to the internal instability and that has its own cost.

This is where India needs to  work out a new strategy to save its sovereignty and also not to lose its  standing in region in the neighbhourhood and beyond.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.

DISCLAIMER

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with it.

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