SOURCE: Tribune News Service
Stating that India’s pre-emptive moves in the Kailash Range in Ladakh has partially neutralised Chinese advantage in that sector, Lt Gen HS Panag, former GOC-in-C, Northern and Central Commands, stressed that India must not make any compromises because even a stalemate in this situation would be a defeat for China.
Speaking at a session on Sabre Rattling in Ladakh during the Military Literature Festival here on Friday, he said that though the overall advantage still lies with China so far, it India can advance troops in some areas like the Indus valley sector and southern sector, the Chinese advantage can be neutralised fully.
By carrying out multiple intrusions across the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, China has so far been able to sully India’s military and international reputation, prevented development of border infrastructure and secured key areas that enable it to seize large tracts of territory he said.
China’s aims, Lt Gen Panag said, were to re-assert its hegemony over India by undermining its status as a rising power, both laterally as well as internationally as well as to undermine the stong leadership of prime minister Modi who is seen by China as an alternate world leader to Xi Jingpin.
China also wanted to ensure that the status on the borders remains on its own terms with no development of infrastructure that can be a threat to it. Neutralising any threat to Aksai Chin and permannently securing areas up to its 1959 claim lines were other immediate objectives of Chinese mobilisation, he added.
China had occupied all territory it required by 1962 and it does not require any more land as far as its strategic interests are concerned. It is using such incidents merely as a tool to assert its hegemony over India and embarrass it. Stating that China wants India to be a junior cooperative partner on the world stage and not a competitor, he said that the moment China perceives India’s assertiveness, it will react through border skirmishes.
India’s growing relations with the US, Japan, Vietnman, influence in the Indo-Pacific region, aggressive posturing in Dokalam, development of border infrastructure in eastern Ladakh changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir and the Home Minister’s subsequent statement that Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan areas would be regained, were other triggers for the current stand-off, he said.
Lt Gen Raj Shukla, GOC-in-C, Army Training Command, said that tactically our response sto the Chinese have been fairly good, but we need to synergise them in the larger strategic framework. Stating that we need to brace up and act against the strategic squeeze from the LAC to the Indian Ocean Region, he added that a systematic and successful deterrence to China is very much possible. He said that a lot of work is being done in the arena of military education and the syllabus of all institutions right from the National Defence Academy to the National Defence College is being revamped. He also stressed upon making out response mechanism stronger and bolder.
Former GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda said that it was clear from the level of preparedness that this incident was different from earlier incursions and the level of violence seen was unprecedented. “We were also taken by surprise as to why the PLA was doing it at this time when the entire world was affected by the Covid pandemic and neither ws there any breakdown in Sino-Indian ties or any large trigger,” he said.