As military tensions go up in Eastern Ladakh, India is reclaiming its true civilisation. Prime Minister Modi is taking up offensive defence as the fulcrum of his military strategy and giving up the age-old policy of being magnanimous towards your enemy.
India has activated the Lalitaditya Muktapida mode in Eastern Ladakh and given up on the Prithviraj Chauhan syndrome. New Delhi is now dictating matters on the de facto Indo-Tibetan border, rather than mirroring Chinese deployment. And the Chinese have been taken by surprise.
Recent reports state that the Chinese PLA wanted to occupy dominating heights by scaling a table-top area between Black Top and Thakung heights at Pangong Tso’s South bank with the help of ropes and other equipment on the intervening night of August 29 and 30. But the Indian Army pre-empted the Chinese troops, in what Telegraph described as a “three hours of hand-to-hand combat.”
Next morning, the Chinese PLA was in for a shock as the Special Frontier Force (SFF), a covert paramilitary commando force that recruits heavily from the Tibetan exiles living in India seized a Chinese camp in the surrounding hills of Pangong Tso lake. The Chinese troops were suddenly confronted by the Indian troops outflanking them from dominating heights in the Southern Pangong Tso Lake, merely hundreds of metres away.
The Chinese are considerably shaken. The Chinese Embassy claims that India illegally violated the consensus reached in multiple, bilateral talks and that India transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Monday.
Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in India Counselor Ji Rong said, “China has made solemn representations to the Indian side, urged the Indian side to strictly control and restrain its frontline troops, earnestly honour its commitments, immediately stop all the provocative actions, immediately withdraw its troops illegally trespassing the Line of Actual Control, immediately stop any actions leading to the escalation and complication of the situation.”
But the Indian Army maintains that the heights taken over by the Indian soldiers is Indian territory. If Chinese soldiers want to assert their so-called territorial rights, they are welcome to come and fight it out with the rugged SFF troops that mostly consist of tough Tibetan highlanders.
Till not very long ago, Indian policymakers and so-called strategists used to weight the practicality of a military manoeuvre in terms of its likeability in China. If it was believed that a particular move would ‘annoy’ China, it was given up. But things have changed. This is the new India that has no qualms about asserting itself, even if it means hurting China’s sentiments.
Over the past six years, India has time and again gone behind enemy lines in Pakistan to inflict damage on terror infrastructure. Whether it was the Surgical Strikes in 2016 or the Balakot airstrikes last year, India doesn’t shy away from hitting hard and deep into the enemy territory, if provoked. China is no exception and it is now being given the Pakistan treatment by the Indian forces.
Prime Minister Modi’s strategy of offensive defence that draws largely from his National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s affinity for the doctrine is in line with the philosophy of Lalitaditya Muktapida- the most famous ruler of the Karkota dynasty of India’s Kashmir.
Muktapida knew how to cut expansionist bullies to size. He had a much better ability to foresee threats from enemies, including the Arab invaders. Also, he never shied away from confrontations and used to annex strategically located territories to position himself strongly against any external aggression. He also formed alliances, including the one with the Tang dynasty of China.
Ladakh, Eastern Territories and Transoxiana (present-day Central Asia), Muktapida conquered it all in order to blunt any incoming forces. One reason for his unparalleled might was that the Kashmiri ruler never let the enemy decide the course of rivalry. If the enemy tried to open one front, Muktapida was ready to unleash himself on several other fronts to keep the enemy in check.
When China upped the ante in Eastern Ladakh, PM Modi had two choices- either keep mirroring the Chinese military build-up or take over new features to overawe the PLA in certain areas. PM Modi has gone with the latter option in a strong affirmation of the Lalitaditya Muktapida mode. India will fight China, but on its own terms and not China’s preferences.