China intrudes LAC in 4 points –  Was India caught napping?

While India was grappling with the COVID-19 crisis was caught napping, China appears to have waded into Indian territory in at least 4 locations

While India was grappling with the COVID-19 crisis was caught napping, China appears to have waded into Indian territory in at least 4 locations
While India was grappling with the COVID-19 crisis was caught napping, China appears to have waded into Indian territory in at least 4 locations

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is just a position… in the demarcation of what separates India and China. From the length of LAC itself, the two sides disagree – India considers it to be 3488 km. long while China thinks it is only around 2000 km[1]. There are many articles that deal with the nuances of what constitutes the LAC and so on but this post is not on that. What is sad is that despite ample early warnings given by the United States (US), India, for reasons best known to itself, indulged in masterly inactivity for a critical two-week period, that has led to it now demanding that the LAC as it existed on April 4, 2020, be agreed to. What it means (but not mentioned explicitly) is that the Chinese have made incursions in three to four points and India is asking them to retreat to the positions as existing on April 4th. How did things come to this?

The US warned India on April 20th

Looking at the troop movements and construction activity along the LAC, the US warned India that the Chinese were massing up troops, according to reliable sources. The warnings were repeated at least a couple of times in the following days. Yet, the mandarins in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), allegedly sympathetic to Russia advised the Government to do nothing. This was because the pro-Russian elements in the Armed Forces and MoD who were concerned about the build-up and contacted the Russians were told that the Chinese would not cross. But clearly the Chinese had different ideas. By the time reality dawned and India sent troops, they were horribly outnumbered.

A few days later, on the 27th the Intelligence Bureau (IB) flagged the movement of Chinese troops into Indian territory with no resistance from the Indian side. Since the line is not clearly drawn, there have been instances of incursions on part of both sides into the other’s territory while doing patrols and they have retreated in the past. But the evidence of construction in Ngari Kunsha Airport, near the Indian border, shows significant construction on part of the Chinese (see Figure 1). The combination of two satellite pictures of the Airport taken on April 1 and May 17th, show the amount of construction activity that has taken place.

Figure 1. Construction at Ngari Gunsa airport near the Indian border. Left pic was taken on Apr 1 and right on May 17, 2020
Figure 1. Construction at Ngari Gunsa airport near the Indian border. Left pic was taken on Apr 1 and right on May 17, 2020
Figure 2. Ngari Günsa civil-military airport base is close to the Indian border
Figure 2. Ngari Günsa civil-military airport base is close to the Indian border

But the Chinese object to India constructing bridges and upgrading their roads inside Indian territory! Whether it is this activity or the statement by the Home Minister of India that India will take back Aksai Chin whatever be the cost, that got the goat of the Chinese, one will never know. But the reality is that there was significant activity on the Chinese side, that was not matched on the Indian side. Of this masterly inactivity, someone in the Indian setup has to answer[2].

Did MHA goof?

The activity on the LAC was reported by the IB to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) too. The reason is that the  Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) comes under the MHA and a matter of this importance should have been cleared in a matter of hours and the Minister alerted. But according to reliable sources, a Babu sat on it for two weeks and finally the Indian Government woke up to the reality on May 16th. But by that time, China had entered up to four kilometers within the Indian side. Not only that, several tanks, and artillery equipment have also moved in. All signs indicate that China is in for the long haul. Several skirmishes between the two armies have resulted in 90 on the Indian side and 140 on the Chinese side being hospitalized.

PM swings into action

Prime Minister Modi was apprised of the situation around the 20th of May and acted decisively. Reinforcements and troops are on the way to the border areas, but is it too little too late? On May 27th, after troops being hospitalized on both sides, talks were mooted and the first round took place on June 6th. For more see Figure 3.

Figure 3. Timeline of the latest India-China conflict
Figure 3. Timeline of the latest India-China conflict

Things that need to be addressed ASAP

There was a deliberate attempt to slow things down, to tamp the information flow in various departments of the government. PM Modi needs to crack down and address this right away. Some Babus appear to be holding a torch for the previous regime and may have done this in a deliberate manner. If Financial intelligence sources are to be believed, a certain family has moved a significant portion of their illegally amassed wealth to Macao, a Chinese territory. That a member of Lok Sabha from that party made a statement daring China to act in a tweet only to tuck his tail between his legs and delete it hours later, hints at a sudden twist in the play.

Modi needs to listen to China experts and act quickly and decisively and India can thwart the Dragon’s designs and match them eyeball for eyeball[3].

References:

[1] Line of Actual Control: Where it is located, and where India and China differJun 6, 2020, Indian Express

[2] AP Explains: What’s behind latest India-China border tensionMay 30, 2020, Washington Post

[3] India won’t bow to  China’s bullying – Prof M D Nalapat, Jayadev Ranade with Rishabh GulatiJun 7, 2020, NewsX channel

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8 COMMENTS

  1. It is really shameful to see the black sheep continuing in important positions whose credentials are doubtful. Govt should get rid of these sheep first and should not depend upon single source for news

  2. You don’t mention your source for US warning India in April and India doing nothing ?

    And it is NOT in any of the three sources cited.

  3. Our nation of Bharat, and I prefer that term to the Colonial leftpver- “India”, was not caught napping.

    Far from it.

    Since 1962, Armed forces, have advanced in technological strength, quantity and quality of equipment.

    The armed forces have always been well motivated, well trained.

    The logistical network along the border with Tibet has been improved considerably with a network of road and airfieds.

    General V K Singh is the Minister of State for Border roads, and under his leadership , a first c;ass network has come up up.

    It is not possible to stop local incursions and local tactical surprise tactics advantage are with the First Mover.

    Keep in mind too that the army is staffed with conscripts, not volunteers.

    The Chinese are in a trap, with no where to go.

  4. Another highly informative news item from PGurus. You won’t get this stuff anywhere else!!

    Chinese needs to be handled with care. They seem down in international context, but that’s due to US against them. US has a habit of making deals and India should not rely too much on global anti-China sentiment.

    That said, I think India should stay strong and act aggressively. Increase construction near border and negotiate tough.

  5. The news is really disturbing. the present Govt and PM is not expected to play the blame game. It is now in its 2nd term. If they could not get rid of moles from the previous Govt then it is the responsibility of the present PM.
    It is disgusting to know that under this Govt. anti Nationals and enemies of India are still holding crucial positions and posts. Mr PM kindly deliver what you promised to us.

  6. Dear Raja
    They will do nothing and expects Chinese to withdraw voluntarily, That they don’t is also known, Ultimately the country goes loser. let alone reclaiming Aksaichin, we cannot defend what was with us till April 20

  7. Doesn’t matter who it is – Nehru, Indira, Rajiv, ABP or the 56″ Modi. They are all wusses. India baboos (more like baboons) are experts at hushing up and denying with a straight face.

    Why can’t India threaten to recognize Taiwan, rake up Tibet or support HK movement, can’t expect much from a bumbling mumbling defense minister.

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