China's expansion plan.

China's expansion plan.

China deploys more troops at Pangong; adds muscle to air power, no mood to quit

India, China military talks still inconclusive; Ladakh standoff can go any way

Agency Report | New Delhi | 9 September, 2020 | 11:00 PM

After their unsuccessful bids to breach the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the last few days, China starts deploying more troops on the Pangong Tso (lake) indicating it is not ready for immediate disengagement. The Chinese have also added muscle to their air power by deploying more than 150 aircraft and helicopters on their side of the LAC in Ladakh. Not willing to take any chances, the IAF has also deployed its front line fighter jets, including the SU-30, MIG-29, and Jaguars at forward bases all along the 4,000 km long LAC stretching from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. This ramping up of troops by China comes days after India, in a defensive move on August 29-30, occupied heights in the north bank of the lake near “Finger 4”. This was a befitting reply to China, which dominates the area between Finger 4 and 8. The Indian Army also thwarted bid by the Chinese to gain a foothold on the south bank of the lake. The deployment of additional troops by the Chinese in the north bank of the Pangong Tso has increased tension and may also cast a shadow on the meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on Thursday.

As India dominates south of Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh, China has started fresh build up at Finger area north of the Lake, sources said on Wednesday.

It started soon after the skirmish on the southern bank took place on September 7 where warning shots were fired by both sides.

The deployment of People’s Liberation Army troops have increased since Tuesday evening. They are also bringing in more materials and logistics items.

The troops from both sides are at a short range from each other. “They are within clear visible range and Indian troops are keeping a close watch on the activities,” said a government source.

The Chinese continue to sit atop Finger 4 ridgeline. The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 fingers that are contested by both sides.

India claims that the Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and had been holding on to area till Finger 4 but in a clear alteration of status quo the Chinese have been camping at Finger 4 and have set up fortifications between Finger 5 and 8.

The Indian Army have occupied crucial heights in areas around the south bank of Pangong Lake and the Chinese have made several attempts to take over Indian positions.

It has become the new friction point where Indian Army seems to be in an advantageous position.

The Indian Army has occupied heights that allow it to dominate the Chinese Moldo garrison and the Spangur Gap under Chinese control. Both Indian and China lay claim to some of these heights.

One of the most critical heights the Indian Army is manning is the Rechin La, which the Chinese are protesting against.

From here the Indian Army enjoys a vantage point not just over Chinese army military bases on the south bank of the Pangong Lake but can also be within range of the Finger 4 area on the north of the lake on the opposite side.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since May at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.
A nervous China is now trying to convince its own people that its Army can fight a war and has the advantage over India.

This clearly shows that China is on the back foot by India’s aggressive stance on the border and is trying to give hope to its own people. “China’s policy toward India is backed by strength and if ordinary people are not afraid of Indian provocateurs, how could the PLA be intimidated by them? How can the country be weak in dealing with India? Everyone must believe that China has an upper hand over India. We have all kinds of initiatives in our hands and we will not allow India to take advantage of China, no matter it is negotiation or fighting a war,” Global Times said in a report.

China state affiliated media Gobal Times said in a report “People familiar with the frontline situation along the China-India border told me that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has a firm control over the overall situation, and that in the event of a war, no matter how it is fought, the PLA will have the absolute certainty of defeating the Indian army. China will not lose an inch of territory along the China-India border. Chinese people can be rest assured,” it said.

The report by Hu Xijin, Editor-in-chief of the Global Times said that recent events have shown that China’s overall deterrence has not been big enough to deter Indian troops from taking risks. “The Indian side is still taking chances, misjudging and underestimating China’s will to never compromise on the territorial issue. The Indian side always believes that China does not dare, will not or cannot go to war with the Indian side. Perhaps the fundamental reason is that China has not fought a war for more than 30 years and is committed to peaceful development.”

It said: “Some outside forces question our willingness to fight if necessary, arguing that we will compromise beyond the bottom line in order to ensure development.”

China is comparing the situation today to the 1962 war. “Before the 1962 war, India had no fear, encroaching on China’s territory and challenging the PLA, and eventually India paid a heavy price. The situation today is very close to that before the outbreak of the 1962 war. As far as I know, the frontline situation is quite tense and there is a serious possibility of direct exchange of fire between the two sides”.

“I have close contact with the Chinese military and I am also a former soldier, I must warn the Indian side that the PLA does not fire the first shot, but if the Indian army fires the first shot at the PLA, the consequence must be the annihilation of the Indian army on the spot. If Indian troops dare to escalate the conflict, more Indian troops will be wiped out. The Indian army, which lost 20 soldiers in a physical clash (many of them froze to death after being injured in group fights), is no match for the PLA. Yes, we have some contempt for the combat capability of the Indian army,” Hu wrote for Global Times.

“Many Chinese are regretfully thinking that perhaps peaceful development is not the destiny of China as a great power, and probably fighting a war to demonstrate China’s determination that it “dares to fight” is the price China has to pay. I want to warn New Delhi, it should be responsible for its actions, not to force China to demonstrate its strong will by striking provocative Indian troops who repeatedly crossed the LAC,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Indian and Chinese military representatives met on Wednesday to amicably de-escalate tension on the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh but the talks were “inconclusive”. The militaries of both countries will again meet for further deliberations.

The talks happened after Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops had made a provocative military effort to dislodge Indian soldiers from their positions on the LAC on September 7 and also fired warning shots.

“Talks took place between Brigade commanders of both the countries today,” said a source, adding that they remained inconclusive.

Sources further said that India has clearly stated during the meeting that if Chinese troops would carry out provocative military movements, Indian soldiers will retaliate.

Earlier in the day, it was found that China had started a fresh build up at Finger area north of Pangong Lake.

The deployment of PLA troops has increased since Tuesday evening. They are also bringing in more materiel and logistic items.

The troops from both sides are in a short range from each other. “They are within clear visible range and Indian troops are keeping a close watch on their activities,” said a government source.

Also on Tuesday, around 40 to 50 Chinese troops armed with spears, guns and sharp-edged weapons had reached a few metres from the Indian Army positions at heights north of Rezang La in eastern Ladakh.

PLA troops were trying to make a fresh attempt to dislodge the Indian Army from its positions.

It started soon after a skirmish on the southern bank of the lake took place on September 7 where the Indian Army dominates positions.

The Indian Army has occupied crucial heights in areas around the south bank of Pangong Lake and the Chinese have made several attempts to take over Indian positions here.

It has become the new friction point as the Indian Army seems be in an advantageous position.

The Indian Army has occupied heights that allow it to dominate the Chinese Moldo garrison and the Spangur Gap under Chinese control. Both India and China lay claim to some of these heights.

One of the most critical heights the Indian Army is manning is the Racine, La, which the Chinese are protesting against.

From here the Indian Army enjoys a vantage point not just for Chinese military bases on the south bank of the Pangong Lake but can also be in the range of the Finger 4 area on the north of the lake on the opposite side.

India and China are currently engaged in a four-month-long standoff on the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Despite several rounds of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues. (IANS)