China’s PLA is nibbling on the border in the name of peace and quiet: analysis
16 Bihar commanding officer Colonel Santosh Babu and his companions lost their lives in a medieval-era clash with stones and nail-covered clubs with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Galwan on Monday at night, but his blood has triggered a turning point in relations between India and China.
Despite being outnumbered by EPL troops with reinforcement reserves coming from behind, Col Santosh and his men attacked the adversary, killing or seriously injuring 43-50 EPL soldiers. Unlike in the past, the colonel had confronted his Chinese counterparts and asked them to follow the agreed rules of withdrawal on June 6.
The aggressive Chinese PLA had left him with no options. The Indian side had withdrawn as part of the escalation reduction, but the Chinese PLA remained at the separation site at patrol point 14.
While most Indians are concerned about the escalation in eastern Ladakh, the skirmish has shattered the myth of “peace and tranquility” perpetrated by Chinese rulers since the 1950s. The Galwan clash has clearly revealed that the “Peace and quiet” doctrine is just a Chinese trick of the PLA to force its cartographic expansion agenda in the Ladakh sector to strengthen the logistics route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The PLA’s military bite towards the Chinese claim line in eastern Ladakh, particularly in the Daulet Beg Oldi sector, is part of this strategic plan. There are already reports that the Xi Jinping PLA is supplying at least four armed drones to Pakistan to protect the CPEC route and should be seen in action against the troubled population of Balochistan.
The past 70 years of contemporary history teach us that Beijing, while expressing moderation, will apparently offer an acceleration of the resolution of limits by the two Special Representatives with the promise of managing the bilateral trade deficit in a focused manner. This means that Beijing will keep bilateral trade of nearly $ 100 billion isolated from border skirmishes, a tactic used by Chinese leaders in the past to resurrect relations. So basically, China wants border and bilateral trade on its terms by trying to impose its military might against India. Even at the cost of losing his life, Col Santosh challenged this power by refusing to allow a change in the terrain situation in Galwan.
Colonel Santosh Babu confronted his Chinese counterparts and asked them to follow the agreed rules of withdrawal on June 6.
That also means that India should not allow execution of the border infrastructure upgrade plan to slow down. Certainly not in the Galwan Valley, where part of the Chinese effort has been to halt India’s border road project.
In the coming days, we will see the PLA’s psychology operations unfold in full force. That could include TikTok videos of bodies of Indian soldiers lying on the Galwan River and of wounded or captive soldiers. This could be accompanied by images of PLA troops, artillery guns, ground-to-air missile batteries. There may also be videos of armed drones to create doubts in Indian military minds about retaliation for the violent confrontation.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and military chiefs assess the situation, Galwan’s confrontation is a slap in the face of the Wuhan and Chennai understandings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The answer to the skirmish lies not simply in economic retaliation, but in standing up and confronting the PLA on the ground to comply with the June 6 military resolutions. And until then, any rapprochement with Beijing must be ruled out.
While a section within the Indian government advises the diplomatic resolution of the June 15 confrontation, the only response to the PLA’s belligerence is to confront them and maintain the territory. The EPL must learn to respect the Indian Army. This is the path that Colonel Santosh Babu has shown us.