Decoding China’s planned aggression – analysis
The deaths and injuries to Indian and Chinese military personnel in violent clashes on the night of June 15 have intensified the intensity of the border confrontation, with statements by China’s Foreign Minister and the Army’s Western Theater Command (WTC) Popular de Liberación (EPL). The suede. It is curious how these violent large-scale clashes occurred when Indian military personnel went to the site with a prior agreement.
The statement issued by the PLA WTC on June 16 expands China’s territorial claims and claims that China has had “long sovereignty” over the Galwan Valley. This is the second time since the current confrontation began that China has extended its claims over “the entire Galwan Valley.” The statement also claims that Indian forces repeatedly crossed the Current Control Line (LAC) and warned India to “strictly restrict its front-line troops, immediately stop all provocative actions and return to the correct path of dialogue and resolve the differences. ” China’s foreign minister separately accused India of “crossing LAC” and “provocatively attacking” Chinese personnel.
Beijing quickly sought to gain ground from propaganda and present itself as a “reasonable power” by claiming that it has not disclosed the number of PLA victims “as it does not want people from the two countries to compare the number of victims to avoid fueling the public mood. ” Hu Jixin, editor-in-chief of the official Global Times, warned the Indian side: “Do not be arrogant and misinterpret the Chinese restriction as weak. China does not want to have a confrontation with India, but we are not afraid of it.” Later, unconfirmed reports put the numbers at about 45 Chinese dead and wounded. China’s social networks are full of Internet users asking for the number of Chinese victims. This will put pressure on China’s leadership. These violent confrontations and loss of life have raised the risks for the leadership of both countries and will hinder negotiations for withdrawal.
It is important to remember that since the beginning of May, China has created a sustained military pressure arc along the northern borders of India that extends more than 1,000 kilometers from Daulet Beg Oldi in Ladakh to Naku La in northern Sikkim. . China’s action combines military, civil and diplomatic instruments. Clashes between Indian and Chinese troops, or Chinese military activity, have been reported from various locations, including Daulet Beg Oldi, Gogra, Hot Springs, Galwan Valley, Chushul, Pangong, Demchok, Shiquanhe, Rudok, and Naku La in northern Sikkim. Such military build-up requires planning and preparation. At least three military sub-districts (MSD), namely Hetien, Ngari and Shigatse, subordinate to the Xinjiang and Tibet Military Regions, are involved in this. Both military regions are under PLA WTC, which exercises operational jurisdiction over the Chinese side of the entire 4,057 km border with India.
Related civil activity has been observed by the administrations of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Rudok County pointing to a long-term interest in Pangong Lake. On April 21, Dorjee Tsedup, vice president of TAR People’s Government and head of Pangong Lake Governance, traveled to Rutok County of Ngari (Ali) to inspect the lake and its surroundings. Hinting at long-term plans for Pangong Lake, Dorjee Tsedup emphasized that law enforcement and lake protection “is important for long-term work.” Days later, the Rutok County Judicial Office and officials from the Ngari Regional Customs and Trade Office carried out propaganda campaigns to explain the alignment of the Chinese border in the border villages of Deru and Jaggang, also known as the village. from Chagkang, not far from Demchok in Ladakh. In late May, the Ngari Municipal Public Security Bureau revealed that all public security personnel in Ngari received “intensive royal combat training.”
It is worth noting here that General Li Zuocheng, head of the joint personnel department of the Central Military Commission and the military commanders of the Southern Xinjiang Military District and the Tibet Military Region have long years of experience in the area. They would have participated in the planning of this accumulation of force and in the formulation of its objectives. After the 73-day Doklam clash in 2017, the number of ground and air exercises carried out by the PLA on the high-altitude Tibetan plateau has increased with regular references to India. The commander of the Western Theater Command and the former commander of the Shigatse MSD would also have memories of the disconnection in Doklam.
Meanwhile, China is creating additional points of potential pressure. He appears to have instigated Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli to raise a contentious and emotional claim over a border dispute with India. A report indicates that since May 8, the EPL is building or improving a military training base on the Tibet-Bhutan border in front of the Drowa village in Lhodrak County, Shannan, TAR. The recent tweet by the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Islamabad suggesting that the clash in Ladakh may be related to the revocation of Article 370 is another indicator. Then he deleted the tweet.
Viewed in this context, activity at multiple points along India’s borders is different from previous intrusions. It suggests a broader goal with the Chinese test of Indian military readiness, political will, and resolve. In view of national and international pressure on Xi Jinping, he will be reluctant to withdraw forces without showing substantial gains, pointing to protracted negotiations.
Jayadeva Ranade is a former additional secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India and is currently chairman of the China Center for Analysis and Strategy
The opinions expressed are personal.