At LAC, counter China’s belligerence

  • China appears determined to cling on to whatever gains it has made through its attempts to alter the status quo on LAC in blatant violation of several agreements signed with India
Indian soldiers seen with the national flag at Galwan Valley. PREMIUM
Indian soldiers seen with the national flag at Galwan Valley.
Updated on Jan 04, 2022 08:37 PM IST
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ByHT Editorial

Whatever bonhomie was generated by images of Indian and Chinese troops exchanging sweets and greetings along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the New Year was swiftly dispelled by triumphalist videos released by Chinese media of People’s Liberation Army soldiers hoisting their national flag at what they claimed was Galwan Valley, the scene of a brutal clash in 2020, and satellite imagery of a new bridge being built on the Chinese side to link both banks of the strategic Pangong Lake and cut the time for troops and equipment to be moved between key locations. The message from one of the videos, which showed Chinese troops standing near Mandarin characters painted on a rock that read, “Never yield an inch of land”, is clear. China is in no mood to meet India even halfway to help resolve the standoff in the Ladakh sector of LAC that has now dragged on for close to two years.

Irrespective of where the videos may have been shot, China appears determined to cling on to whatever gains it has made through its attempts to alter the status quo on LAC in blatant violation of several agreements signed with the Indian side. China’s calls to separate the situation on LAC from other aspects of the bilateral relationship need to be called out for what they are — a bluff to ensure India’s efforts to reach disengagement and end the standoff get nowhere.

The Indian side has ramped up efforts to bolster infrastructure on its side of LAC — as reflected by the recent opening of 27 roads and bridges in strategic areas — but much more must be done to ensure India is on a sound footing to take on any misadventure by the Chinese government, whose actions across the Indo-Pacific are becoming increasingly belligerent.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022