by Brig Arun Bajpai

After the famous Galwan Valley fight between the Indian and Chinese soldiers where India lost 20 soldiers martyred while Chinese soldiers had 43 killed on 15 June, on 19 June Indian PM was in Ladakh in a surprise visit to address Indian troops .He had said that no Indian territory is lost to Chinese .However the very next day MEA said that what PM meant was the territory in Galwan Valley. Since then every body is hedging the bets and nobody is coming out with facts. Now why this is being done for this 11-week-old stand-off between India and China is anybody’s guess but now slowly truth is trickling out. Fact is that China has ingresses into Indian territory and is not going back. Truth is that India can not take it laying down and must show to China its 56-inch Chest come what may. Options to India are limited.

Till date in this 11 weeks old stand off between Indian and Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh , four Lt General level military talks , three meetings of India -China Working Group and one talk of Special representatives of India and China have taken place , however China has dug its feet in the areas it has ingresses and is showing no intentions of restoring Status quo Ante. On 17 July Indian defence Minister Rajnath Singh was again in forward areas of Eastern Ladakh where Chinese have ingresses. He very clearly stated that India will not allow anybody taking even an inch of Indian territory. On 25 July while speaking to CNN News 18, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen YK Joshi, again made it clear that India will ensure that China returns to Status Quo Ante come what may. So, what is the ground situation? Let us be clear that China has ingresses in Pangong Tso area where they have moved 8 km ahead from Finger 4 to Finger 8. They have occupied adjoining heights in this area and have also built a small hospital. earlier Indian patrols of ITBP use to go from finger 4 to finger 8 which now Chinese are not permitting. Chinese Army is also not withdrawing from Depsang plains, Gogra, PP 17, Hot Springs.

Even where they have pulled back about 1.5 km, this area which is very much on Indian side has become out of bound to both Indian and Chinese soldiers. The Indian Intelligence Satellite EMISAT while passing over Tibet on 25 July has taken pictures which show that Chinese troops are concentrating opposite Arunachala Pradesh also. Earlier reports suggest That Pakistan also has moved about 40,000 troops in POK and has activated its Sakardu Air Base which means Chinese can base its fighter aircrafts at Sakardu also. It also Indicates that both China and Pakistan are planning to launch a joint operation against India before onset of winters. So, what are the options for India?

First and foremost, India must now recognise that China is its main enemy and forget about Wuhan Spirit and Mahabalipuram spirit. Chinese President Xi Jinping is a new Hitler who has been made President for Life by the Chinese Communist party. This fellow is totally drunk in his new all powerful Avtar and has no qualms even to take Panga with USA the only super power of the world whom China wants to replace. In Aug 2017 Xi Jinping decided to withdraw from Doklam conflict with India because in October that year Xi was to be anointed as President for life in China and Xi did not want to take a chance. No such situation exists now. India must understand that it should not hesitate and should not make futile efforts of being equi-distant from Both China and America. The days of competition with China and unlimited trade and commerce with China are over. Today trade is entirely tilted in favour of China.

While China exports to India 67 billion dollar worth of goods it denies India its market in so many fields, so that Indian exports to China are pegged at paltry 14 billion dollars. India instead of hedging its bets between China and US should join US and other like-minded countries like France, UK, Britain, EU whole heartedly against China. India must deny its vast markets to China in all fields. Like China now India should also try to be a manufacturing hub. India must understand that it was China who gave nuclear know how to Pakistan to enable it to become a nuclear power and keep India occupied in South Asia. It is China which is supplying arms clandestinely to Jihadis in Pakistan and also in Myanmar, including Bangladesh all against India. Small countries of SE Asia like Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Malesia who are fed up with Chinese Rang Dari in South China sea but are unable to pick up courage to challenge China, India now must be their new light opposing China in all spheres. Looks like Indian political masters have started looking in this direction. just a few days back India has banned 59 Chinese apps. This has resulted in Chinese company of TikTok alone losing six billion dollars. Now India has banned 47 more apps of China which will make China tuck its tail between the legs. 203 more such apps are in the scrutiny. Also, India has banned all Chinese companies from bidding in Indian markets a further big blow to China.

As for current situation. Let us be clear that China is not going back from the places it has ingressed in East Ladakh so what are the options for us. The option for us are either to evict China from the places it has occupied which of course will lead to lot of blood shed and repeat of Kargil or we have an option to ingress where China is weak along 3488 km long Indo-China border and then bargain .In my perception the second option is better. Time has also come when we should stop pussy footing and tell China in plain terms that we are not prepared to talk for talking sake. China must restore Status Quo Ante first before any talks. How much prepared we are is amplified by our Defence Minister Rajnath Singh rushing to Russia to buy 21 second hand MiG-29 fighter planes and licence producing 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKI in India. Also buying missiles from Israel and speeding up delivery of Raffle fighter jets from France. Why this last-minute purchasing when we know that we are facing two front threat of China and Pakistan? Why do we allow our defence budget to go below 1.5% of GDP when minimum requirement is of 3% of GDP? any way bygones are bygones let us take lesson from this for future and fight with what we have got which is quite a lot.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same