INDIA. Ladakh. In the wake of 10 Indian soldiers released from Chinese military custody on June 17th, questions continue to circulate about Delhi’s position on a Chinese incursion into the northern border regions.
Following a June 15th clash which led to 20 Indian casualties and an estimated 40 Chinese casualties along the Galwan Valley border, some continue to wonder about India’s willingness and preparedness to defend its northern territory.
Political analyst questions PM denial of Chinese incursion. In another video Tweet, political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla demands clarification about the capture of 10 Indian troops.” The honorable PM Modi is misleading and speaking the language of China when [he] says China did not intrude into Indian territory!” If Delhi maintains that India has not stepped foot into Chinese territory and China has not stepped into Indian territory, then how did the capture of Indian troops, including a commander, occur?
Poonawalla maintains that Modi is caving to Chinese pressure and seems to be ceding the border territory. Otherwise, he is covering up a massive intelligence failure in order to maintain his domestic image as a “strong man.”
BJP Spokesperson insists that India will not cede border. BJP spokesperson, Devang Dave insists that Delhi has a “very clear stand” on the border issue. “Not an inch of land will be given up to China. No border road construction work will be stopped by giving in to Chinese pressure, and China will not be given any freehand to redefine borders unilaterally.”
These border regions are in rugged terrain and uninhabited regions through the Himalayan Mountains. Dave continued, “There are various patrolling points on the LAC where in the army keeps a vigil so no unauthorized construction [occurs] in that specified region. The current issue was very near to the patrolling region. China had [come] close to the LAC, constructing their tents and permanent structures, which was strongly opposed by [the Indian] army. There was a standoff for about 10 days.”
The LAC refers to the Line of Actual Control, a term used since 1962 to loosely describe the border regions between China and India.
There was no Indian response to the Chinese incursion because in the last 5 decades since the violent dispute in 1962 that settled the territorial lines, “there has not been a single bullet fired, so India believed in [talks]” which had begun with China, Dave asserts. “The Chinese army began retreating.”
Claim of Chinese ambush after talks mean to deescalate. After high level talks and an agreement had been reached, Chinese troops returned, “after a brief retreat,” to Galwan. Dave claims that “While the Indian army went to [Galwan] to [confirm] the retreat and demolish the structures erected by [the] Chinese army…they were ambushed.” Trust in the process seems to have caused India casualties in the contested region for the first time in decades. Dave admits “China has this old habit of making false promises and keep[s] pushing and slowly grabbing land.”
Addressing the issue of who crossed into whose border, Dave said, “some Chinese soldiers started running away in mountains…some of our jawans went hunting those people.”
The situation seemed to be escalating; the release of the captured Indian soldiers was meant as a good will gesture. However, speculation continues about the cause of the recent conflict. While Poonawalla asserts that Modi is a mouthpiece for the Chinese while maintain a “strong man” appearance domestically, Dave paints a more complex picture. “China is not only provoking India but host of other nations including Australia.”
Poonawalla maintains that there was an incursion in the LAC region in April. India did not respond. He asserts that either it was an intelligence failure or Delhi looked the other way.
Dave insists, “There was no such incursion; whenever they came near, our army has always protected every inch of land.” The co-commander meeting that was called on May18th was in response to Chinese infrastructure moving too close to the LAC.
Indian bridge construction could be a trigger. Ironically, it seems to be Indian construction of a bridge in the Galwan Valley that is provoking the localized divide. BJP spokesperson Dave continued, “The bridge in Galwan Valley which BRO Border Road organization built up, reduces travel time from 8 hours to 35 minutes. That’s the major point of contention. China is rattled with the fast-moving infrastructures along all Indian borders.”
With relations on a roller coaster, PM Modi of the nationalist BJP party is committed to responding to each and every provocation by Chinese military. “This is one of the strongest PM India has ever had, and [the] world [has seen] the kind of bold decisions he is capable to take in terms of Pakistan… the way it has [responded] in last 5 years including air and surgical strikes.”
Modi prepared to defend India at all costs. In his closing statement to Transcontinental Times, Dave said, “India is a peace loving nation, and [has] never encroached on land of other countries, but one thing is for sure: India of 2020 [es]specially under leadership of Narendra Modi has come up as much stronger than ever, so any misadventures by anyone will get a befitting reply.”