NEW DELHI: China clearly violated its own unilaterally defined Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 1959, an irregular demarcation that cuts through rivers and valleys never accepted by India, during the bloody clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15, a senior defence officer said on Tuesday.
Given the current developments, India has no option but to remain prepared for a ‘no war, no peace’ situation along the LAC with permanent troop deployments, akin to the operational scenario along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. “China cannot be trusted. It will not back down from its strategy to continue pushing the LAC westwards,” another officer said.
The hardened positions and prolonged deployments in eastern Ladakh, where the rival armies are gearing up for the harsh winter when temperatures dip to below 30 degrees Celsius, were also evident in an address by Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria at a webinar on Tuesday. “The present security scenario along our northern frontiers (with China) is at an uneasy ‘no war, no peace’ status. Our armed forces are prepared for any eventuality. IAF has responded with rapidity and resolve to counter any misadventure,” he said.
There are reasons for the huge trust deficit in the Indian defence establishment. An earlier troop disengagement plan went awry on June 15 after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reneged on the agreement to dismantle an observation post on Indian territory near the ‘Y-junction’ of the Shyok and Galwan rivers in the Galwan Valley.
This led to violent clashes throughout the night at the site, in which 20 Indian and an unspecified number of PLA soldiers were killed. “The Y-junction is around 800 metres to the west of our Patrolling Point-14 (PP-14),” a senior officer said. “We don’t recognise China’s 1959 claim line, which runs near PP-14. But even going by that, the PLA clearly violated their own claim line and transgressed around 800 metres into Indian territory to barbarically attack our soldiers with nail-studded rods and stones,” he added.
Similarly, the PLA is adamant the LAC runs north to south at ‘Finger-4’ (mountainous spur) on the north bank of Pangong Tso after occupying the 8-km stretch from ‘Finger-8’ to it since early May. This definitely alters the status quo there since the LAC, as per India, is at ‘Finger-8’.
Officers said there was no sign of the PLA being ready for disengagement, leave alone de-escalation and eventual de-induction, despite several rounds of military and diplomatic talks.
“There is no change in the ground position. We have to be careful,” an officer said. There are seemingly incompatible differences between India and China over the ground situation in eastern Ladakh, where the rival armies have amassed well over 50,000 soldiers each, along with tanks, armoured vehicles, howitzers, surface-to-air missiles systems, along the entire frontier.
At the webinar, ACM Bhadauria said “air power” would be a crucial enabler in “our victory in any future conflict”, and it was imperative that IAF obtained and maintained a technological edge over our adversaries.
“The recent inductions of Rafale fighters, along with C-17 aircraft, Chinook and Apache helicopters has provided IAF with substantial tactical and strategic capability,” he added.

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