India clearly has the upper hand in case of a military conflict with China. New Delhi is getting strong hints of American support in case military tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)- the de facto Indo-Tibetan border cross the dangerous red line. And the indications are coming directly from the White House.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has said that the US military “will continue to stand strong in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else.” The comments were made after the United States deployed two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea where China is currently engaged in maritime conflicts with multiple countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Speaking to Fox News this Monday, the top White House official said, “The message is clear. We’re not going to stand by and let China or anyone else take the reins in terms of being the most powerful, dominant force, whether it’s in that region or over here.”
Meadows has made it clear that the American military stands strong in the region.
Ever since the Sino-India military stand off started after the May 5 face-off at the Pangong Tso lake area between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, the US has been making remarks critical of China.
Alice G Wells, American Diplomat and former principal deputy assistant secretary (PDAS), said on June 13, “External rebalancing is critical. At the end of the day, it will be the US that stands with India in pushing back against constant Chinese probing of Indian sovereignty.”
It has also been reported that Washington is going to deliver precision artillery rounds with a range of 40 kilometres that are used in a number of artillery guns in the Indian inventory, including the towed M777 Howitzers that use 155mm artillery piece.
As observed during the Kargil War in 1999, such precision artillery rounds play a critical role in high-altitude warfare. In the event of a military clash in Eastern Ladakh, artillery capabilities will be a game-changer.
However, this is for the first time such direct hints have been dropped by someone in the American military establishment. The remarks have come right from the top and almost pledge support for New Delhi if things turn nasty between India and China.
This is particularly important for India as it wants to guard against the possibility of a sudden Chinese offensive. Recently, the Indian Army and PLA both pulled back their troops from the friction areas and created a buffer zone in the Galwan River Valley area. This is the venue of a bloodbath between the Indian Army and the Chinese Army that happened on June 15.
In other areas- Pangong Tso and Hot Springs also, Chinese troops have disengaged. But India cannot take China’s actions at their face value. China has a tendency to backstab.
Even in the July month of 1962, Chinese troops had withdrawn from the Galwan post. 97 days later, the Communist country had waged war against India.
97 days after this banner headline, the 1962 war happened. pic.twitter.com/66vNl5HWWL
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) July 6, 2020
This time around however India has a more competent and responsible person in power. New Delhi isn’t going to fall for Beijing’s apparent goodwill. American indications of support in case of a military conflict augur well for India, even as the latter prepares to guard against the possibility of a treacherous Chinese offensive.