The confrontation that is currently happening between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh is being described as the biggest military confrontation since the Kargil war of 1999.
According to the Indian Army, a violent face-off ensued on Monday night between the Indian Army troops and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops of China “during the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh”. The Chinese are the aggressors in the ongoing military tussle and therefore there is a massive wave of anti-China sentiment across India.
The Chinese State media, especially the Communist Party of China (CCP) owned media tabloid Global Times have suffered a massive meltdown. After the Indian media picked up the story, the Chinese media too has been making a big issue out of the casualties suffered on their side.
The logic behind these Chinese reports is simple- Beijing’s State-owned media wants to save their country and the PLA from India’s wrath.
China might keep speaking of the 1962 Sino-India war. But even the CCP mouthpieces understand that the equations have changed drastically in the past 58 years. What is guiding China’s military doctrine and actions is not the 1962 war, but the recent past of India’s military doctrine that involves lethal retaliation and effective pre-emptive strikes.
The post-2015 military doctrine of India is playing on China’s minds. Beijing knows what happened after the Uri terror attack in 2016- there was massive outrage within the Indian military establishment, political circles and media outlets. Prime Minister Modi stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan at multilateral forums.
Pakistan and ISI export terrorism into India in cahoots with terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). PM Modi’s diplomatic outreach ensured that global perception favoured India.
This soon culminated into the 2016 Surgical Strikes, as India’s Special Para Forces crossed the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan, and went on to impose massive costs on Pakistani terror establishment.
India declared the 2016 Surgical Strikes to the world at large- these were pre-emptive, and not provocative strikes and the international community endorsed India’s right to protect itself against cross-border terrorism.
Prime Minister Modi’s strategy is effective and lethal, and it has really become the basis of India’s military doctrine. This is why New Delhi resorted to the same strategy last year as well.
The February 14 Pulwama fidayeen attack orchestrated by Pakistan was bigger than the 2016 Uri terror attack, and thus India’s reply was also more lethal and precise. India upped the ante and went a step higher in the escalatory ladder- the Indian Air Force (IAF) was pressed into service.
Needless to mention that the global opinion was one of hostility against Pakistan, and PM Modi’s diplomatic outreach had ensured that Pakistan was viewed as a terror State. This created the space for India to strike hard and deep into Pakistani territory.
IAF fighter jets crossed Pakistani airspace and went several kilometres into Pakistani territory, as opposed to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The Jaish-e-Mohammed madrasas (read ‘terror training camps’) were struck and struck hard. They were annihilated and heavy casualties were inflicted upon Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Modi government and the Ministry of External Affairs stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, and made it clear that the strikes were pre-emptive and were supposed to avert more terror attacks against the Indian State- something that was recognised by the world at large and Pakistan stood ostracized.
The Indian Army hits back when the enemy attacks, and inflicts disproportionate casualties on the enemy.
This is what had also happened in 2015, when 18 Indian Army soldiers of the Dogra Regiment were killed in an ambush by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K) insurgents in Manipur, the Indian Army retaliated by attacking and annihilating NSCN-K camps inside Burmese territory.
Beijing understands and fears Prime Minister Modi’s strategy and New Delhi’s military doctrine. Once the Indian Army issued a statement revealing casualties on the Indian side- a Colonel-rank Commanding Officer (CO) and two Jawans, the Indian media started reporting the event extensively.
Nation-wide outrage is growing against China even as we speak about the military confrontation, high-level meetings have happened including the one among Prime Minister Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and PM Modi over #IndiaChinaFaceOff. India Today's @GauravCSawant explains what exactly happened at the LAC last night. #7at7 #Breaking @PreetiChoudhry pic.twitter.com/0mDKpmqvTN
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) June 16, 2020
There is no reason why India won’t step up the diplomatic pressure on China, especially at a time when Beijing is already reeling under a global backlash for hiding the COVID-19 Pandemic and causing lakhs of deaths across the world.
In fact, global media has picked up the issue, with a British media outlet carrying an angry story tilted, “World War 3: India slaughters 5 Chinese soldiers in bloody massacre- border tensions erupt.”
The Indian army said in a statement that a “violent faceoff” took place on Monday night, “with casualties on both sides.”https://t.co/elpmxrcLqN
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) June 16, 2020
Things are moving ahead in New Delhi, and now even the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has hit out at China, stating, “While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley. On the late-evening and night of 15th June, 2020 a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side.”
India is going to build pressure against China for its unilateral actions and punish China for crossing its limits. Beijing is rattled and its propaganda machinery is trying to weave a new narrative.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has sought to blame India- its spokesperson said, “Our border troops had a high-level meeting and reached important consensus on easing the border situation. But astonishingly on June 15, the Indian troops seriously violated our consensus and twice crossed the borderline for illegal activities and provoked and attacked Chinese personnel which led to serious physical conflict between the two sides.”
Meanwhile, Global Times has regurgitated the same claiming that India is the aggressor, and has also confirmed “severe clashes and casualties.” This is a part of the Chinese propaganda to blame India for the violent face-off that could very easily become a diplomatic tussle paving way for a disproportionate retaliation from India.
#BREAKING: The #PLA Western Theater Command spokesperson said Tuesday #Indian troops again crossed the line of actual control in the Galwan Valley region and purposefully launched provocative attacks, leading to severe clashes and casualties. pic.twitter.com/yN1RU14lXm
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 16, 2020
Hu Xijin, Editor-in-chief of CCP-run tabloid Global Times, also tweeted, “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.”
Beijing hasn’t released its casualty figures, and the Global Times Editor-in-chief says, “Chinese side didn’t release number of PLA casualties in clash with Indian soldiers. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing.”
This is the narrative that the Dragon is trying to push- goodwill, after provoking tensions and attacking Indian soldiers during the de-escalation process, the Chinese media has the guts to talk about “goodwill”. Reality is being compromised because if the picture becomes clearer, the Indian diplomatic and military establishment will not let it go easily.
Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 16, 2020
The lie of China showing restraint and India provoking tensions is being reiterated because the Chinese State media wants to protect its terracotta soldiers from the Indian Army’s wrath. Moreover, the global public opinion about China is at its lowest, China cannot afford any more bad PR.