In ten months since China launched a dirty and dangerous biological weapon aimed at contaminating the world, surveillance systems have detected some of its military moves.
Satellite images show how Kailash Manasarovar, a venerated place of religious pilgrimage for Hindus now resembles a battle zone with heavy military presence. This was reported in Defence News on August 23, 2020 and added that China’s enhancement of military facilities near Mount Kailash includes deployment of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) with fresh constructions that started in April 2020 being completed by September 2020.Mount Kailash and many areas along Manasarovar, including Rakshastal and Gauri Kund, are revered by Hindus and Buddhists. Latest satellite images from August 16, 2020 indicate possibly, HQ-9 SAM system under tarpaulin covers. This also amounts to desecration and defacing or destruction also of the holy site.
A TV news network showed visuals of young Chinese soldiers sitting in a bus crying, reportedly on their way to the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control (LAC), juxtaposed by Indian soldiers playing kabaddi in 3 feet of snow, somewhere near the LAC. The Chinese soldiers, mostly single children of their parents owing to Chinese Communist Party’s dictat, are most likely crying as they have heard of the fate of their senior comrades in Galwan valley on 15-16 June 2020. This video is reportedly by Taiwan and was stoutly denied by China’s state – controlled mouth piece, Global Times.
That was the day when Chinese troops broke all agreements for peace and tranquillity and also broke all records of military confrontation by killing 20 Indian soldiers including their battalion commander on June 15 2020, by using, not firearms, but medieval barbaric weapons. The intense revenge counter- attack by Indian soldiers shortly thereafter resulted in 3 or 4 times more Chinese soldiers being killed without use of firearms and 14 Chinese soldiers being barehandedly thrown into the freezing waters of the Galwan river by a single young Indian Army brave-heart Gurtej Singh, who also died. Some Chinese personnel were captured too. Earlier on June 05 and 09, 2020, Chinese troops resorted to stoning and attacking with medieval weapons at East Ladakh and Naku La (pass), Sikkim respectively, injuring over 100 Indian soldiers, but with none killed. But even then, PLA violated the spirit of all past agreements.
The other unexpected and unprecedented rude shock to PLA was when some commanding new heights were occupied by Indian Army- including its Tibetan troops of Special Frontier Force for the first time since its raising in 1962 – between August 29 and the second week of September include Magar hill, Gurung Hill, Recehen La, Rezang La, Mokhpari and the dominating height over Chinese positions near Finger 4. After being shocked again, PLA, is frustrated like never before and reportedly been forced to plan for its troops to spend the coming snow-filled winter facing the Indian Army troops.
Before and after these incidents there have been many rounds of talks between military commanders. The corps commander level meet on September 21 which reportedly went on for fourteen hours were also unconclusive.
Talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jingpin, which, viewed retrospectively, amount to China making a mockery of them. When PM Modi was hosting Xi and his wife at the Sabarmati riverfront, Chinese troops had intruded into Chumar. And the greatest irony is Xi inviting PM Modi to Wuhan, from where, China launched its biological attack on the world. During the foreign and defence ministers meetings in September 2020, the Indian Ministers stated whatever the China had done/should not have done, but both meetings were inconclusive.
The brigadier-level talks between Indian and Chinese armies on September 07, 2020, led to much heat from both sides and resulted in their deciding against holding in-person talks. Both the military commanders then exchanged heated arguments over the hotline. This was on September 8, 2020, a day after Chinese soldiers attempted to dislodge Indian forces which occupied strategic heights in Mukhpari peak and Rezang La areas in Ladakh on the night of August 29-30, 2020. PLA’s attempts to dislodge Indian soldiers on the newly occupied heights by its group of soldiers armed with staves and firearms were thwarted. The heated exchange on the hotline was over Chinese troops’ attempt to approach Mukhpari Peak, dominated by Indian forces as well as the PLA’s use of medieval weaponry.
What emerges from a look back at the talks mentioned and those from 1993 till 2020, both politico-diplomatic and military, including maybe thousands of talks held by commanders on ground from 1967 till 2020 is the characteristic lies, deceit, utter lack of sincerity, bullying attitude and an unending greed for land, particularly that with valuable natural resources, which makes them to continuously keep creeping across the LAC, about which they refuse to declare their claim lines. Not declaring their claim lies, suits PLA so that it can try to claim any area based on Chinese perception.
Some Indian Army veterans who faced the monkey tricks of PLA during their service believe, this unresolved border should be referred to as the Line of Existing Control, not ‘Actual’ control.
The 1981 parallel track policy of working to build harmonious ties even as the two countries sort out the boundary issue has not paid any dividends to India. Instead, India has lost territory since then, letting 65 patrolling points defined by the China Study Group in 1976 turn into the de facto LAC in Ladakh. The patrolling points are well within the Indian perception of the LAC but the movement of the Indian forces to these points has been curtailed by the presence of Chinese troops, face-offs with PLA patrolling parties and on occasions, the harsh weather and mountainous terrain.
It is under the guise of a summer exercise that PLA marshalled a large force with all supporting units of tanks, guns, missiles etc and used it Galwan, and Pyongang Tso, in June 2020 after Depsang and Daulat Beg Oldie in May 2020.
PLA has no intentions of disengaging or de-escalating. In fact, it is frustrated and feverishly proceeding with efforts to grab parts of Bhutan is still with the after effect on PLA’s morale by Indian Army’s revenge counter attack on June 15-16, 2020, at Galwan and the unprecedented occupation of commanding heights since August 29, 2020, raising India’s bargaining leverage increasing substantially, India must press forward till mid -October 2020/till the snows set in, to occupy even more such positions. And simultaneously India must assertively begin using all cards against China, from Aksai Chin onwards at least. India should refuse to hold any further talks with China till it does not relent. This is the time after seven decades when India must begin to keep rubbing China with all that it has done by way of bullying India during the decades of India’s Congress government rule -except for Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri (1965) and Indira Gandhi (1967 at Nathu La/Cho La and 1971) -till mid 2014 being too soft and ever-bending. While the BJP government has been assertive relatively, it needs to go quite a bit further to ensure that the post August 29, 2020 gains are maintained and not frittered away by falling back as a result of any further/future talks . It is critically important to break the Nehruvian jinx of not using force when required and when it would have been effective, or not using enough of it and now determinedly take on all issues to change the narrative with China. Given China’s military intentions and aim, taking advantage of the pandemic, which it engineered, it is vital for India to take proactive and powerful measures to ensure its security and integrity.
Indian Army’s post-29 August moves are going to force PLA into camping the 2020-21 winter with extra clothing and equipment. If the Chinese leadership is pig headed enough to think it can pitch PLA into a winter war, which today is technologically possible, it will only mean a heavy price to pay by way of body-bags and its economy. While Indian Army troops are quite used to extreme cold climate and are quite adept at maintaining tanks in such temperature conditions, PLA soldiers may find the going a bit tough to put it mildly. It got quite amply proved in 1967 in Sikkim and in 2020 in Eastern Ladakh that PLA is not made of super-soldiers.
Having come so far, all that the Indian leadership has to do is to ensure that the mountain strike corps is equipped with all necessities and then maintain its high level of political will to pay back the Chinese establishment diplomatically on all issues and militarily.
The writer is editor WordSword Features. He is also a strategic analyst and former spokesperson, Defence Ministry and Indian Army, and can be contacted at wordsword02@gmail.