The military standoff which is inching toward completion of four years in April-May this year is likely to get more complex and threatening as China is developing new weaponry that can pose serious challenges for India to undo the situation in the cold desert region. India will have to come up with matching technology and weaponry to keep China and its military in check, not to allow the current situation worsen. The Indian army commanders on record to have stated that the situation in Ladakh is “stable but unpredictable.” That is a fair assessment of the situation, but that is no solace to the Indian army or the people of Ladakh. This is interfering with their plans to move forward with the speed they wanted.
China has given no indication, despite several round of military and diplomatic round of talks, to ease the situation on the Line of Actual Control in the cold desert region of Ladakh.
The military standoff that began, with Chinese troops advancing too close to the LAC in violation of the agreements of peace and tranquility, in April-May 2020 threaten to enter the fifth year this spring. Neither were any signs that the Chinese troops will withdraw to the pre-standoff positions nor any possible breakthrough in the diplomatic circles of the two countries appears likely in the near future.
Added to this stand is the worry of China advancing its military weaponry, using new designs and technology. This advancement may not be aimed at the Indian positions in Ladakh or elsewhere at the LAC, but there is no guarantee that China would hesitate from doing so. Even if it doesn’t use the latest weaponry, but the simple deployment or its possession spells out threats for India.
A report in South China Morning Post, a newspaper published from Hong Kong, said that China has developed an intricate design of a new type of electronic warfare weapon. And this something, the news report said, “military forces across the globe are keen to get their hands on”. The scientists who have developed this weapon say that the weapon can launch multiple focused beams of electromagnetic waves from a single antenna, simultaneously targeting various objects in the sky, sea or on land to disrupt their operations.”
“Laboratory tests conducted to a miniaturized version of the weapon, the report said, “have shown its ability to operate at high power and emit electromagnetic waves across a broad frequency range.” These kinds of weapons pose both short and long-term security threat to India. The military standoff in Ladakh, combined with a severe competition in geopolitical arenas between China and India, such a development is ominous. It will spur the Indian scientists to compete and match or supersede the capabilities of the Chinese weaponry.
This multiplies threat to Indian interests and assets in Ladakh region and beyond. In this context, Ladakh region has the potential to become a flashpoint, as any misstep by either side can cause a situation that may not work out well for the region. It’s good to assert that China has not encroached the Indian territory – that is a physical situation , which has been ensured by the massive deployment of troops and war machinery by India, one of the most challenging tasks that the Indian army is accomplishing in the region where, during winters where temperatures dip to minus 40 degree Celsius, It is beyond the imagination of the people in plains to understand how the troops survive and keep themselves fighting fit in the Himalayan heights. The diplomatic means have not worked, and it is a bad diplomacy to criticize the previous governments to justify the situation prevailing on the border. All the governments have their responsibility to keep the borders safe and no two situations can be prepared. Past leaves lessons to learn, not to revisit it to indulge in game of wining scoring points over political rivals. The opposition, too, should understand that no government ever wants to have a hostile situation on the borders. The conflict with China is not an ordinary thing. There are deeper risks involved than mere confrontation or standoff like situation on a sensitive border where threats from China and Pakistan converge.
India will have to be more cautious, as China-Pak combine are doing everything in their powers to intimidate the country at the borders and within. The terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Rajouri-Poonch where soldiers have died in line of duty, has made military observers to conclude that it was part of a larger game plan of China and Pakistan to disturb the current deployment of troops in the entire region of which they can take advantage of. This is a very complex and intricate situation, which India needs to reflect on and strategize to neutralize the same.
Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)
Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.