‘Taught them a lesson’: PM Modi explains the big picture in stand-off with China

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Jun 19, 2020 10:41 PM IST

PM Modi had convened the all party meeting after a border stand-off with Chinese troops at four locations in eastern Ladakh escalated at one point in Galwan region on Monday night.

Chinese troops were neither able to enter the country nor take over any post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told an all party meeting on Friday evening, assuring the country and political parties that the armed forces were capable of action in more than one theatre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi(ANI photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi(ANI photo)

PM Modi had convened the all party meeting after a border stand-off with Chinese troops at four locations in eastern Ladakh escalated at one point in Galwan region on Monday night.

PM Modi, who had started the meeting with rich tributes to the 20 soldiers who laid down their lives at the bloody Galwan face-off, praised them for their courage. Those

“In Ladakh, our 20 jawans got martyred. But they taught a lesson to those who were eyeing Indian territory,” he said.

Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in this deadly face-off. But information available with South Block indicates that the soldiers were able to cause heavy losses on their adversaries. According to this information, the Chinese side ended up with about 35 casualties - soldiers who died or were seriously injured. The dead include the People’s Liberation Army’s commanding officer and his second-in-charge.

Also read | Ladakh isn’t South China Sea, will not allow status quo to change: Official

PM Modi kept his thrust sharply on India’s improved military capability, telling political parties - friends and rivals alike - that the armed forces were doing all that they could. Right from deployment, taking action or counter-action.

“We have the capability that no one can cast an eye on an inch of our territory,” the prime minister said, echoing his commitment to the country this week that India wanted peace but had the capacity and the will to strike back if provoked.

India’s armed forces were capable of simultaneously moving into different theatres, he said, a reference to the oft-repeated concern around the military’s capability of fighting a two-front war on its western and northern borders. There has been a lingering concern within India’s strategic community that Pakistan was likely to try to exploit the situation in case a conflict between India and China blows up.

Back in 2017 when he was the army chief and led the army into the Doklam crisis, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat had underlined that China was gradually trying to take over territory and testing India’s threshold and India needed to be prepared for a two-front war.

At the all party meeting on Friday, PM Modi also stressed the vast improvement in border infrastructure and military capacities that had taken place over the last few years. “We have also addressed other requirements of the forces such as fighter planes, modern helicopters, missile defence systems,” he said.

These factors had raised India’s capacity of patrolling along the Line of Actual Control. “Because of the improved patrolling, our vigilance has gone up and the military gets to know what is happening on the borders at the right time,” he said, pointing that our soldiers were able to intercept the Chinese forces who earlier had a free run. “If you keep on intercepting them, it is obvious that tensions will rise,” he said.

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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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