Strategic Scuffle in Galwan – Sino Indian Power Play

The violent clash at Galwan on 15 June may have a far-reaching impact on Sino – Indian relations and has been a method of strategic signalling from China. The Editor carries out an insightful analysis. Read On.

The inscrutable Chinese are now wearing a ‘mask’, adding opacity to their countenance. But India, the land of astrologers and mind readers, has wise sages to decipher the Chinese design. Harking back to 1962, one recalls Chinese Premier Chou en Lai’s statement that it was “to teach India a lesson”. The Chinese consider such ‘raps on knuckles’ as part of messaging – conveying a caution or in plain speak advice. So what happened in Eastern Ladakh in May – June 2020 and why? The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) amassed over 20000 troops along with artillery guns, tanks, mechanized vehicles, helicopters, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and activated their airbases in Tibet and Xinjiang, thereafter increasing the force levels further in June. They physically crossed the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Pangong Tso, Gogra, Galwan and Depsang, built structures and defences, and escalated the faceoffs. Explaining their aggression as a counter to Indian border infrastructure like the Darbuk – Shyok – Daulat Beg Oldi (DS-DBO) Road would be a shallow assessment. Perceiving the Galwan ingress as a desire to dominate the DS-DBO Road is tactical level thinking, we know that the Chinese work to a long term strategic plan. The PLA’s large scale mobilization of forces has undoubtedly been ordered from Beijing. To comprehend the Chinese moves, we need to look at the larger picture.

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Lt Gen J S Sandhu, PVSM,
UYSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd) was
commissioned into 6/5 GR (FF) in June
1980. He has vast operational experience
having commanded his unit and
formations in Jammu & Kashmir
including the Srinagar Corps. He has
also been an instructor in institutions of
the defence services and retired as
Military Secretary in Army
Headquarters in 2019. He was a leader
of great repute within the army. He is
now the Editor of this magazine.