The LAC crisis and the danger of losing without fighting

Source- The post is based on the article “The LAC crisis and the danger of losing without fighting” published in “The Hindu” on 3rd May 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral groupings and agreements

Relevance– India and China bilateral relationship

News– The article explains the approach of current Indian government on LAC incursions by China.

What is the current situation on LAC?

Three years later after LAC incursions by China, only some areas have witnessed disengagement. Depsang and Demchok, remain unresolved. 26 of the 65 patrolling points in Ladakh are out of reach to Indian soldiers.

Neither diplomatic meetings nor talks between corps commanders have made any progress since September last year.

Regular meetings between Indian and Chinese Ministers, Foreign and Defence, have not yielded results either. Beijing has ignored Delhi’s talking points.

What was the approach followed by the India during 2013 Chinese incursions on LAC?

During the 2013 Depsang crisis, the PLA had blocked Indian patrols at Y-Junction. It is the same place where it has blocked them in Depsang since 2020.

Within three weeks, the PLA was forced to lift the block after the Indian Army launched a quid pro quo operation on the Chinese side in Chumar. The status quo as it existed before PLA’s block was restored.

What has been the Chinese approach towards India in the recent incursions?

Over nine years, China’s approach towards India has been hostile. China sent PLA soldiers to Chumar during Xi ‘s visit to Ahmedabad in 2014.

The Chinese leader did not pay attention to the Indian leader’s plea in Beijing in 2015 to delineate the LAC and has blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Satellite imagery shows that the Chinese were already building massive military infrastructure in Ladakh by the time the Second Informal Summit was taking place in Mamallapuram in late 2019.

What is the way forward for India on LAC incursions by China?

India is under pressure on the border. It needs to find a way to transfer that pressure back to China. Beijing has never compromised unless it has been forced into an uncomfortable spot. India has deployed this tactic since Nathu La in 1967.

India needs to be proactive. Political leadership needs to use its bold imagination. If the political leadership is fearful, the military on the China border will remain in a defensive posture.

Military is used as an instrument by states to pursue policy ends and impose its will upon the adversary. New Delhi must take some military actions. It will provide leverage to its diplomats.

China is a much bigger economic, military, industrial and geopolitical power than India. But the gap shrinks considerably when it comes to local balance on the LAC. If Russia is unable to vanquish Ukraine, China cannot militarily walk over India.

Three years after the border crisis began, a status quoist approach can no longer be the answer. India will have to wrest the initiative from China.

Print Friendly and PDF