Book Review | China standoff at LAC to boomerang on itself

China's LAC stand-off may actually be a nightmare for its never-tested-in-battle troops

By :  Anil Bhat
Update: 2024-06-08 18:34 GMT
Cover photo of 'China Betrays Again' by By Maj. Gen. Ashok Kumar, VSM (Retd). (Image by Arrangement)

Two very highly frequent and repetitive acts by China in the history of post-1947 India-China relations have been bullying and betrayal.

The trend set by Nehru of accepting the bullying has continued till date with few exceptions. The first exception was in 1967, when Indira Gandhi sanctioned the use of artillery against the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) at Nathu La, Sikkim, resulting in almost 400 Chinese soldiers being killed. The second exception was by former Army Chief Gen. Krishnaswamy Sundarji, who took a strong stand against the Chinese at Sumdorong Chu and Namka Chu in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986-87. And the third and fourth exceptions were in June and September 2020, when China literally launched its second aggression against India, and after what amounted to a biological warfare attack which caused a global pandemic. In June 2020 it was striking back at PLA at Galwan and in September, the same year it was occupying Kailash Range. Indian Army’s subsequent withdrawal from Kailash Range was a result of New Delhi accepting the bullying by Beijing.

In 1967, after PLA got over the shock of being beaten by India, Beijing pressed very hard for an agreement of not firing at each other. New Delhi agreeing to this condition was a bonanza for China. And the result was PLA taking great advantage by repeated intrusions/attempts to grab territory/’salami slicing’ till date i.e. for 57 years on an almost daily basis. Thus, border management of the LAC was very often by fisticuffs broken once by killing four soldiers of 5 Assam Rifles by torture at Tulung La, Arunachal Pradesh, in 1975 and 20 ersonnel of 14 Bihar, including their commanding officer at Galwan on June 15, 2020, by using medieval barbaric weapons.

While post 2020, PLA has neither disengaged, nor de-escalated, nor de-inducted from all the positions that it intruded to, it further increased its deployment and supporting weapons in Arunachal resulting in Indian Army mirroring PLA’s deployment. This, the author contends, results in India shifting China westwards from its priority one objective, Taiwan, but also away from its obsession with Arunachal Pradesh. And too, India has forced China to place its troops in harsher areas, resulting in casualties.

For Indian Army troops, who are all well-conditioned for high altitude and very cold climate, are very effective as the always have, been since 1947, when Indian Army redefined mountain/high altitude warfare. So, China’s LAC stand-off may actually be a nightmare for its never-tested-in-battle troops.

China Betrays Again

By Maj. Gen. Ashok Kumar, VSM (Retd)

Sabre & Quill

pp. 282; Rs 1,295

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