New Delhi: Rathee has tried to explain the border issue between Indian and China on which neither Indian Media is discussing nor Indian government is clarifying its stand. He tried to find out through his sources to how much extent the Chinese soldiers have intruded inside the Indian territory and what is the reason for their intrusion.
Line of Actual Control
Frist he explains the border line that is called LAC (Line of Actual Control), which is not clearly demarcated that how much area belongs to India and China. This is the reason of conflict between both the countries. The area between the demarcated lines has become grey area and is defined as Area of Differing Perception (ADPA). This area is of 10 km which is situated at the Pangong Lake in Ladakh; in reality this area is not important to both the countries except Galwan. Indian and Chinese soldiers used to visit these areas just for inspection and they frequently have had skirmishes by throwing stones on each other or fistfights and blaming each other of intrusions.
Since last few years, India has increased its frequency of visits to the grey areas as it has developed advance equipment.
Rathee says that the present situation, which started from 5 May 2020 in Pangong lake, which is in Ladakh is more serious than the previous ones. This lake is 130 km long and 5 km wide. The LAC passes through this lake.
The conflict is now on three locations. Pangong lake, Galwan river valley, which is also in Ladakh and the third one is the hot springs near Kongka pass.
Rathee invited Retd. Colonel Ajai Shukla to his YouTube channel Dhruv Rathee and discusses this problem with him according to his knowledge and his sources.
He asked Col. Shukla that how far has China intruded inside the Indian territory in Pangong lake.
Col. Shukla replies that the projections of the mountains into the Pangong lake have been named as ‘fingers’ from F1 to F8. F1 is on the Western side which starts from Indian border. F8 is in the East on the Chinese side (please refer to the map).
The area from F1 to F4 was not occupied by either of the forces. They just used to patrol the areas. Now, China has physically occupied the area in between F1 to F4, they are digging trenches, have brought weapons with them, dug entrenchments and have fully occupied the area.
In between finger 4 to finger 8 is a distance of eight kilometers that belongs to India, which China has occupied, and stationed four to five thousand soldiers, says Col. Shukla.
Rathee has also taken the opinion of Retd Gen. H S Panag whose views are quite similar to that of Co. Shukla. He says China has encroached the Indian territory by crossing finger 8 and has occupied an area of 35- 40 sq. km. with one or two battalions. He also added that some journalists are misinterpreting the fingers stating that China did not occupy the Indian territory; they are favouring China.
With regards to Galwan valley, Col. Shukla says the situation is very bad as that area is strategically very important military wise. If China occupies from F4 to F8 in Pangong, it will not be benefitted much, it is a small land that does not dominate further. But in Galwan, China has a considerable advantage. They entered Galwan valley, on the mountains from where they can overlook the road of 255 km that leads to Doulat Beg Oldie. India has built this road recently, in the North. China can bring their artillery and from the mountain peaks they can target and can stop Indian military from using this road. Thus, the occupation of Galwan valley is harmful for India. The Chinese military has encroached 2 to 3 km inside the Indian territory in Galwan and took hold of mountain peaks.
Earlier, there was no dispute between India and China as there is no grey area or LAC on the border. There was a borderline to which both the countries had agreed to. So, by crossing the border line, the Chinese military has clearly violated their own boundary line and entered in to the Indian territory.
About the hot spring region, Col. Shukla says that according to military officials, here also Chinese military will not be benefitted much by intrusion as they get in Galwan. China may just want to put pressure on Indian military and want to disturb them or keep them occupied.
Rathee, has also uploaded the tweets of some retired military Generals.
Retd. Lt. General Rameshwar Roy’s tweet read:
“It will be our gross mistake to ever compare the present Chinese ingress in Eastern Ladakh to anything that it has done in the past. This intervention has very long term strategic implications not only for India but for the region itself.” He then tagged PM Modi, Defence Minister of India and Additional Directorate General of Public Military Intelligence (ADGPI).
Another Col. Malkiat Singh says that the situation is critical like Kargil.
KJS Arora says that this is a loss of national pride and it is a shame that the government is trying to suppress the situation by giving different perspectives and they are not admitting that India has actually lost its territory at the hands of China.
Rathee says that there is no clear answer from the Indian government. Raj Nath Singh said in an interview that many Chinese have intruded Indian territory. His video went viral and people have commented that our Defence Minister has accepted the Chinese intrusion.
Later, Press Information Bureau (PIB) released a fact check and denied the Chinese intrusion and said the Defence Minister meant to say that the Chinse military has come up to the LAC.
Col. Shukla says that the BJP leadership is unable to take strong steps against China and is trying to mislead the public saying that China did nothing, they just they came to the disputed area and returned. This is the same tactics that Pakistan adapted during India’s surgical strike on Balakot. Pakistan also stated that Indian forces they just crossed the border and returned. Hence, the BJP is saying the same thing that Chinese did not ingress at all while Chinese forces are sitting on the Indian territory. He further says, the leadership is losing its own land at the hands of China.
Rathee says, government should be transparent to the public otherwise the opposition and the janta will not keep quiet. He adds that some people are of the opinion that it is good that the government should not disclose everything to the public, because if the public comes to know that government has other options, then the pressure on the government will increase from the public and they may want to reply China in the same way as they carried out surgical attack on Balakot. This is because strong nationalist sentiments prevail in the public.
At the same time, there are some experts like Retd. Lt. Gen. Panang who says, by denying China’s intrusion in India the government is handing over the game to China.
Why China is doing this?
Rathee says that some experts are of the opinion that China wants to inculcate nationalist sentiments within its own country in order to divert the attention of the people from the state of the economy which has crashed due to COVID-19.
Other experts deny this and state the reason, that China is threatened by the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road that India is constructing and it wants the construction of the road to be stopped, so that, India should not get the strategic advantage it would get, by construction of this road.
Col. Shukla says impeding the road construction is an instrument, an advantage, a military tool that they have got. But the reason behind them wanting to stop the construction of the road is extremely important. He says, in his opinion and according to many experts, when India changed the status of Kashmir on 5 August 2019 and changed the status of Ladakh, it was made into a union territory by India and said that Aksai Chin-which has been occupied by China is also a part of union territory. This made China feel that India is unilaterally changing the status of this entire area. This was not liked by them at all. Now, they want to show that if you can change the status unilaterally, we can do it too.
Rathee asks, by doing this will they not be affected geo-politically? Because the world is against China at this moment because of the spread of Coronavirus from there and UK who is not happy for what is happening in Hong Kong. Will it not backfire China and make most of the countries hostile to it?
Col. Shukla answers, China is basically trying to show that it is a global power and that they will resort to their whims and fancies if they wish to and that they can do so on many fronts. China wants to say gone are the days of fighting only on one front, if we are fighting with Vietnam, it does not mean we cannot do anything to India. Right now, China believes that it has the kind of super power that it can pursue Chinese interests on multiple fronts simultaneously. So, China is in very arrogant mind-frame right now and India is a quite powerful and stable country. China is also trying to display that India cannot meddle with it and they can take steps against India if they wish to.
Rathee asks what Col. Shukla thinks will be the solution of the talks that have been held or the solution that might have been chalked out, according to his sources.
Col. Shukla replies that according to his sources, China is still behaving boisterously and it is not ready to take even a single step backwards. They are saying that the territory they have occupied belongs to China, it had been belonged to them and will belong to them in the future.
Rathee says, when he was making this video, some of the media channels have posted that the Chinese troops have retreated 2.5 kms away from the Galwan Valley. ANI posted that this information come from “top government sources”.
Rathee contacted Col. Shukla and invited his opinion on this news who replied that this news is not correct, if it proves anything, it proves of the Chinese intrusion.
He asks Col. Shukla’s opinion that would there be further talks in the future or this situation would in the same place as it was before.
Col. Shukla replies that the talks are being held on many levels; Indian ambassador in Beijing is in talks with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, a border mechanism has been prepared by both the sides to resolve any border disputes that arise, and finally military to military talks are being held as well. The government is attempting to keep the spotlight on the military talks so that they can foist the blame on the military later. But there are talks ongoing on all three levels –diplomatic, military and political. It is yet to be seen what progress will be made and on what level, which will be known later