“The People’s Liberation Army of China provoked the most violent clash between India and China since 1962 to seize territory,” an article in The Times of India came out with that headline. The authors cited a US Senator from Kentucky, Republican Mitch McConnell. According to him, the whole world is anxiously watching how the two nuclear powers exchange blows, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of people on both sides.
“We hope for de-escalation and peace,” the American politician said.
And he added that Beijing is the biggest threat to the United States and its allies. And “The Chinese Communist Party used the pandemic as a smoke screen to strengthen its oppression in Hong Kong, as well as to strengthen control and influence throughout the region.”
A report by the European Foundation for the Study of Southeast Asia (EFSAS) called the clash between Chinese and Indians in East Ladakh “a pre-planned and barbaric attack by China that violated the protocols of operations agreed by both sides decades ago and triggered the first large-scale clash in almost half a century” .
EFSAS experts write that, despite Chinese militancy, the Celestial Empire does not want to aggravate the situation. Hence, firstly, the relatively restrained reaction of Beijing. And secondly, the reluctance to disclose the number of dead soldiers (in India, 43 dead and seriously wounded Chinese were declared). Apparently, the Chinese authorities do not want to incite nationalist anger inside the country.
Clashes between the Chinese and Indian military in the Galwan Valley, where the actual border between the countries runs, took place throughout May. The whole month the parties pulled military equipment and soldiers into the conflict zone.
Then, on May 5, a mass brawl began in East Ladakh, in which about 400 soldiers from both sides participated. Four days later, another brawl occurred – this time near the border post in the Indian state of Sikkim. Then two more clashes occurred in this area – on May 13 and 29.
However, the June 15 incident was a real cause for war. About 250 people from each side participated in the slaughter. In total, more than 60 people died. At the same time, not a single shot was fired – the military used exclusively sticks and stones.
In fact, it is not clear to the end. However, this was to be expected. The fact is that the line of actual control between China and India is poorly demarcated and often Indians and Chinese find themselves face to face with each other.
Meanwhile, evryone knows that China planned the attack in advance to disrupt the construction of a road in Ladakh. This is written in the aforementioned European Foundation for the Study of Southeast Asia:
“India’s infrastructure projects are extremely worrying for China. This is especially true for roads that are built to connect advanced points along the line of actual control with the nearest Daulat Beg-Oldi airfield in Ladakh. These projects would enable India to carry out military mobilization faster. In addition, the Sino-Pakistan Economic Corridor (KPEC), which India is opposed to, passes in the immediate vicinity of the area where the construction of (roads) is underway. ”
In addition, satellite images, produced by the British company Planet Labs, see how changing the landscape of the valley of the river Galwan. Experts suggest that China is building roads there and building a dam. To do this, the Chinese brought to the Galwan area more than 200 trucks, four-wheel drive vehicles, bulldozers and earthmoving equipment.
EVERYTHING BEGINS MUCH EARLIER
In the fall of 1962, a border war broke out between China and India. The reason was a dispute over the border line between the former British India and Tibet. The fact is that the British-Tibetan border agreement of 1914 (the McMahon line) did not suit Beijing. Moreover, according to these agreements, India received a number of territories, including the principality of Ladakh. When Tibet became part of the PRC, a border dispute with the Indians led to armed conflict.
Since then, the situation in this area has been tense. The communist partie of china constantly make territorial claims in Ladakh.
And in 2020, it flashed again – this time around the Galwan river.
WE WISH PEACE BUT READY FOR WAR
This is how one can describe the position of India, which is indicated in eight key points from the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 19:
- There was no invasion from India and the seizure of posts.
- 20 valiant soldiers sacrificed themselves, forcing the enemy to pay a high price and teaching him a lesson. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
- Our forces are fully trained and will support the necessary deterrence.
- We have provided the armed forces with complete autonomy to take appropriate action at the operational level.
- We want diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue peacefully.
- Our sovereignty is of paramount importance to us, and over the past 5 years, we have made focused efforts to modernize and improve border infrastructure.
- Improving infrastructure means strengthening patrols and monitoring the movement of Chinese troops.
- India never succumbed to external pressure. Will not succumb this time.
Prime Minister Modi also added:
“The sacrifice is part of the Indian tradition. But also part of it is valor and courage. I want to assure our nation that the sacrifices of our soldiers will not be in vain. India wants peace. But being provoked, she is able to give a decent response in any circumstances. “
In order not to be unfounded, the Indians deployed an air group in the conflict zone, and strengthened the Navy group in the Bay of Bengal.
“The outbreak of violence on the Sino-Indian border in Ladakh came as a surprise to India. But, judging by the statements of the country’s prime minister, it seems that the Indians managed to regain control over their territory, although there were no casualties, said Nandan Unnikrishnan, an Indian political scientist, honorary researcher at the Observer Research Foundation (New Delhi) . “Therefore, there is no reason to expect tensions to increase unless, of course, China continues to violate the borders of the line of actual control.”
Today, neither India nor China has any reason to strive for a full-fledged heated conflict. But, undoubtedly, these events will seriously undermine the authority of Beijing in the eyes of Indian politicians. And, I believe, it will not be a surprise if in the near future we will see some changes in the foreign and domestic policies of India.