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By: Mushtaq Butt

India and China, the two most populous and nuclear armed South Asian countries are once again in a tricky situation. Since 2017, Doklam stand-off, the two nations which share lengthy border line have come face to face with each other in which both countries suffered casualties. As India and China border area is not well demarcated by LAC,[LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL],the line somehow passes through regions termed as ‘grey areas’ or ‘Area of Differing Perceptions [ADP].The grey area is disputed one claimed by each nation and it includes ridges of famous PANGONG LAKE, whose 60% area falls under Chinese control, and hot springs near Kangla Pass. The ridges are designated as fingers and are 8 in number. Among eight fingers F4 to F8 are classified as Grey Areas and are patrolled by both sides, chiefly of Chinese army, movement is visible which have physically occupied the same. The region is not of much advantageous to China being little in size and leading nowhere. Likewise, Hot Springs region is also a grey area claimed by both.

However, Chinese incursion into Galwan Valley seems to be a complete trespassing into Indian territory and multiple reasons can be explored for this action since the Valley lies outside LAC and doesn’t fall in grey area or ADP. Since last year India has developed the physical infrastructure like DARBUK-SHAYOK which lies close to Galwan Valley and the highest Siachen Glacier is also under India’s complete control. This gives India a strategic advantage over china. The same geographic advantage is supplemented by Daulat Beig ODI Road, where India’s Air Base is established amid snow capped peaks. China views the physical infrastructure through the prism of threatening economy as it has developed China Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] and route to Central Asia for growing economy between Asian countries close to same region. This threat instigated China to enter the Galwan Valley wherein they developed physical structures to claim the region and safeguard the CPEC. CPEC, it must be remembered has incurred a heavy expenditure for China and, as such, it will do whatever it can for ensuring that the investment does go waste. Nevertheless, Aksai Chin- area claimed by India is under Chinese absolute control and is source of Galwan River.

This all led to a bloody clash between the two countries on 15th of June that was seriously noted by United Nations which appealed for maximum restraint. Since 1975, this is the first time when face off has caused severe human loss on both sides while China has apparently violated 1996 protocol which clearly states that neither of the two sides shall use arms or ammunitions along the LAC. The most worrying factor for India is the Galwan Valley intrusion as Chinese claim to settle at heights of the river valley can be disastrous for future of India. Chinese troops may use the strategic location for themselves and can inflict heavy harm to the Indian side.

Thus there is a strong need of settling the issue diplomatically and strive to free Galwan Valley by any means. In dealing with Border crisis, India has to keep in mind the razor edge editorial of Chinese ‘GLOBAL TIMES’ wherein in was stated that China didn’t want war but was also not fearful of conflict.

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