The Chinese PLA’s attempts at transgressing into a new area, particularly along the southern bank of the already tense Pangong Tso Lake, has not gone down well with India, which responded by carrying out what it has called strategic ‘readjustments’ of its troops’ positions. These readjustments, however, are extremely significant, and while the establishment is cautious in using words to the same effect, it has been established that the Indian Army and the Special Frontier Force have captured close to 30 dominating heights along the lake, which were previously unoccupied, but which now give a strategic advantage to India.
This has naturally caused a flare-up in tensions between the two nuclear superpowers, which has resulted in China being forced to come to the negotiating table, this time around, as a party which has been gheraoed and which is now at a strategic disadvantage in Pangong Tso Lake. Around four Brigadier level talks between the two sides have failed to result in any calming of tempers. Meanwhile, India has shown China its place in the latest round of Brigadier level talks which happened yesterday, as it denied China the usual comforts of such meetings.
Yesterday’s meeting, which was held at Chushul in Eastern Ladakh, as reported by ANI, saw an unusual hosting of the Chinese. The talks were held in an open area in Chushul rather than the usual meetings inside the Border Personnel Meeting huts built for the purpose there in both sides of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The talks were being held after Indian troops thwarted the Chinese Army`s attempts to transgress into Indian territory, following which the Indian Army and SFF foiled any such transgressions much to the PLA and China’s embarrassment.
Denying China the usual comforts which they are so acclimatized to, and cannot do without, India has effectively signalled a change in the power equation and dynamics of dealing with them. India will no longer project itself as a defensive state alone, and will, instead, if nudged, not shy away from going on an all-out offence. Moreover, the decision to not meet the Chinese in designated huts signals as to how India is now not completely interested in talks, as the strategic heights are now dominated by it, much to China’s distress.
Therefore, it is China which is seeking further talks to calm the situation. India is ready to brave the winters, a season which the Chinese do not have the stomach to survive in the Himalayas while being involved in a conflict. India will now demand the restoration of status quo ante via quid pro quo.