Ajai Shukla at Manthan on The Restless Border with China [Subtitles in Hindi & Telugu]

so RJ thank you so much for that extremely generous introduction know every the rest of the people the audience were given up this undammed morning in order to deal with this very depressing question that we’re facing right now I am dealing doubling multiple Falls as it were in doing this presentation this is the first time I am doing a zoom presentation with slides and we are doing it from familiar ease where the electricity supply is not too great where internet connection is sometimes patchy so I will request all of you to bear with me as I juggle these balls if something goes off just stay with us we will try and restore connectivity as soon as possible so we are talking today about the restless border with China the ongoing intrusions that are exercising all of our policymakers that is dying up the military on the border on June 15th as you all know after a 40-day and talk between troops of the PLA and the Indian Army but the situation exploded into violence in a sort of almost caveman type encounter between two nuclear powers soldiers attacked each other with clubs with rods tied with barbed wire through each other over cliffs to their deaths in several laws of fighting about 20 Indian soldiers were killed an unknown number of Chinese would also have lost their lives I assume the Chinese casualty numbers are not known with any certainty India has said 43 Chinese were killed but Beijing for that take news but the fact is that regardless of how many Chinese were killed or even if none of them were killed the situation we face now is the most dangerous the most perilous that we have faced since the 1967 not sulla encounter when several hundred soldiers from both sides were killed that situation was controlled it never escalated any further and we hope that this current situation also is managed the same way so next I guess about 45 minutes also leaving 45 minutes for Q&A we’ll talk about this huge defense and foreign policy crisis and which way it could go so to put things in sort of perspective I’ll start by really giving you a sort of very broad oversight of the border question between India and China the dimensions where the issues are really located then we will talk about what has happened over the last two months what could be driving it what direction it can go what are the key factors in it and finally we’ll get on to Q&A and and sort of take on specific issues that members of the audience would like answers about so let me start by the screen sharing by stop sharing a J know you can just advance to the next slide okay this is not advancing should I just exit and come back inside so did you see that slide show that arrow on the right oh yeah I get so that’s a quick look at the landscape of Ladakh for you just to give you a sort of sense of what kind of terrain this this entire episode is playing out in the valley floor that you see before you with with green trees and a few houses and so on that’s normally located at

between 12,000 and 14,000 feet or titude above sea level and the mountains that you see rise off about 3,000 to 4,000 feet off the valley floor so they’re about at altitudes of anything between 16 to 18,000 feet it’s rugged terrain very low oxygen levels very difficult for soldiers to operate very difficult for machinery to operate because they challenge and because of the cold all in all a very inhospitable environment for military operations but incredibly beautiful to look at and that’s why you get so many tourists and so on coming and perhaps that’s why we’ve got countries fighting over it now so coming on to the boundary dispute itself I thought I’d just give you a few sort of pointers to the dimensions of the problem we often talk about a border dispute but this is far more the Inder Indochina border boundary question is far more than a border dispute it is a full-blown territorial dispute over about 130 to 140 thousand square kilometers of land that’s a chunk of territory about the size of Nepal or Bangladesh now the dispute is spread across three widely separated sectors you steel they’re marked and read over there on the slide there’s the western sector the central sector and the eastern sector the western sector includes Ladakh borders with Tibet and Xinjiang it is the primary bone of contention right now in the high altitude sort of warfare that is going on between the two sides warfare I’m sort of using in its broader sense it is mainly comprising a very barren high-altitude desert called the oxide chain it’s marked there on the thing you see the western sector looks a little like a question mark and the upper part of the question mark is the boundary is the territory of oxygen it measures some thirty-five thousand square kilometers for China how did the oxide chain come to have any value at all given that it’s completely barren and nothing grows there the reason for chai interests in the Excite chain and its possession over it is that it has built the strategic western highway through this territory it passes right through the exciting this is a highway called g21 9 in the Chinese terminology it connects Tibet with Qin Jia and both being outlying provinces with a long history of sort of resentment and separatism and uprising against the Chinese mainstream India claims the oxide chain based on old maximalist British claims how much control India really exercised over the Xin is an open question it suffice to say that when China built the highway through it and I will goes couple of hundred kilometres through the exciting India I only found out about the highway when Chinese Press reports in 1957 announced that the highway was being inaugurated so Nehru certainly recognize that the exciting had little strategic value for India that’s the map again the black line that you see over there is the Western Highway the territory marked in in magenta is the exciting and it passes right through the highway the highway passes right through the excise chain as you can see so Nehru realized that this had little strategic value for India but having officially claimed it once in the initial maps that were published of India especially the 1954 map which conclusively showed it as a part of India a walking away from that claim was always going to be politically difficult especially and here’s the interesting part not from the sort of right-wing parties but the main opposition was coming and the main nationalistic upsurge was coming from the right wing of the Congress party itself leaders like Govind Ballabh month now the problem was highlighted in Parliament in December 1961 and Nehru answering Mohave tog II who was a Congress leader over there try to talk the value of the exciting new told to the Parliament and I quote exactly his phrase no tree grows anywhere in this wide area it may be some shrubs and Mojave pe’ahi pointed to his own bald head and said no hair grows on my head does it mean the head has no value so you get a sense of the sort of emotional

dimensions of the problem nobody is willing to let go of territory regardless of how useful or useless it actually is so besides exciting the western sector dispute also includes and now I take you down to the dot of the question mark below the main question mark a 500 square kilometre pocket of land near M Jacque slightly to the south and in the 1962 watch ina occupied another 3,000 square kilometers in Ladakh so that also is still continues to be held with with by China then in 1963 Pakistan ceded to China the shots come Valley you see that ground terror tree over there mark trucks come Valley that’s about five thousand one hundred and eighty square kilometers it was just seated by Pakistan to China in a provisional agreement that China says is subject to final settlement of the J&K border between Pakistan in India so coming back to this map where we come to the central sector it’s on a frontage of 545 kilometers that includes the hey Marshall and otra cont borders with Tibet you see those two little dots over there it’s a it’s a sort of relatively minor dispute in the central sector and most people believe that if if China and India can resolve be exciting and the raw natural predation issues the central sector will get resolved on its own it’s not a very sort of serious problem it concise consists mainly of the Barra Ooty plane now of course there is this new problem which has come up over the last couple of months of a little piece of territory they called kalapa me near the leepu lake pass on the tie junction between Nepal India and Tibet that’s not strictly an India China problem it’s more in India and Nepal problem but suffice to say that it has come into sort of the limelight once again then you come to our own Achille Pradesh where just let me open this you so you come to Arunachal Pradesh that is another major major problem that is 90,000 square kilometers of territory disputed between India and China it is called South Tibet by China it is called Arunachal Pradesh it has changed its name over the years from nifa northeastern frontier agency who arunachal pradesh as a union territory and now is a full-fledged state of india so altogether this amounts to a solid 140 thousand square kilometers for the rest of the talk today oh we are going to be focusing really on the dark part the exciting that is the part which is currently in the limelight this is not to say that it will it will not sort of become an issue in the sort of coming days as well there are already indications that China might be lining up on the border with with that particular area that is Arunachal Pradesh just let me get my slideshow going once again so coming back to where we are at the moment the if you if you sort of go chronologically the whole issue really came into the limelight on April 19th and I’m going to take you sector by sector that sort of got activated over a period of time on April 19th intelligence reports these were based on satellites these were based on ground intelligence from the troops on the border and so on it came to be reported that Chinese troops Chinese vehicles were building up in the area opposite demchoke in the area opposite galvan in the area and the tapes on plane and so on and there was clearly something brewing but you know it was not taken seriously enough by the Indian side and

there was there was a sort of additional factor at play over over here on you know when winter gets over and spring starts going out this area normally both sides the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army they do exercises and maneuvers with their forces to sort of check that everything is okay and that nobody has come in during the winter period and that sort of patrolling resumes as normal but this time there was there was no sort of Indian sort of troops in the in being deployed on the ground and the reason was very simple because the Indian reserves had been sort of locked down under the cope it 19 sort of pandemic program and it was felt you know we could afford to not actually go there so you found that when these Chinese troops were going off there was an imperative to say no no no no this is nothing this is just a usual spring time maneuvers and nothing is really good to happen however that was witchly bust that impression on me v and that was the first clear incursion into the Galvan area what happened was that a large number of Chinese troops came forced their way down into the Galvan Valley went to the confluence of the Galvan and the shoke rivers and sort of overlooked the new road a new strategic road that India had built from a place called called done book down the shoked River to Da Lat big ol D which if you see on the map is right up to the north near the Karakoram pass so this road really connects it’s a strategic road it connects main central Ladakh and southern Ladakh with this northern isolated tip near all of a Goldie so that was one incursion and simultaneously the People’s Liberation Army crossed at two other points you will see there below the galvan valley they were pointer to the two hot springs and there is a point there called Bogra which is a very sort of dominating height they invest into that area as well the second ingress took place on May the 9th and this was nowhere in Lhasa it took place in Sikkim in a pass called Nakula so now the interesting point is that the 220 kilometer border between Sikkim and tibet is actually a settled international border it is not a disputed area at all like the rest of the sino-indian border it is the only part of the sino-indian border that is actually settled and there is no dispute over but despite that the Chinese came across on May the 9th tossed down about 2 kilometers into Indian Territory where they were confronted by Indian troops and to the present moment they continue to be there they continue to be on a sort of eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation it’s a tense face-off the third clearly intrusion took place on May the 19th you will read there below hot springs at the pangong TSO the program so is a very picturesque lake some of you would have seen the movie three idiots the final scenes of that movie were shot on the banks of the pangong so it’s a stunningly beautiful Lake it’s a sort of very hot flash point right now it happened on May the 17th 18th when a large number of Chinese groups measuring in the thousands came over encountered an Indian patrol beat up the Indian soldiers 72 Indian soldiers were hospitalized as a result of that clash and it quickly became apparent that this is going to be another sort of flashpoint in mid-may there was also a buildup opposite too soon and demchoke that’s the lowest part that you see over there on the slide on June the 6th you know there was an attempt to de-escalate this when commander level talks were held between Indian and Chinese commanders near to shul and it was agreed to disengage but on June the 15th that sad incident took place which everybody in this audience is certainly aware of so I will not when on that suffice to say that 20 Indian soldiers were killed and sort of the situation got elevated from a mere confrontation into a situation where lethal force was now being used on the border for the first times in 45 years the last time

this happened was in 1975 if the Tulum de pozdneyev on where 4sm rifles Jevons were killed in an ambush by Chinese soldiers so that is where we stand at the second week of June that’s just last fortnight gap sung that’s north near the Karakoram pass was activated by the Chinese as well and they came into the they did rest about 15 to 17 kilometers into depth song they are threatening Dahl of Bay Goldie but they have been contract by Indian soldiers and that’s where the situation starts now with some initial reports coming in of Arunachal also likely to be activated some sort of buildup happening across the border so that is what you see as the Galvan Valley you see the river there’s green marking flowing from that yellow dotted line that’s the LA see the line of actual control between India and China the Galvan River crosses there it’s a high mountain area over there it crosses flows from east to west roughly reaches the part which is variable which is marked an estuary the Galvan estuary where it flows into the Shoukry this is the satellite photo that has been used by a lot of analysts right now you will see that the line of actual control is that why Nala the ambush site which is marked in green ambush 15 but that is about a kilometer and a half inside the Indian side and these red dot these red circles that you see on the hills surrounding the Galvan River or areas where Chinese patrols had initially come in sat down but now they come and go but suffice to say that the girl one Valley is now a demilitarized zone it’s a buffer zone some Indian patrols go there but nobody stays there Chinese have established a camp near of why Nala and that’s where they are located this is another satellite photograph of the Chinese camp this is taken from vertically above the camp so it’s a different perspective compared to the previous slide the red line that you see over there the bottom left of the corner that marks the line of actual control and then you see this the Chinese defensive positions marked over there on that white patch of sand in the elbow of the river as it turns from right to left you can see those pink constructions those are Hut’s there’s that white circle that’s a helipad and there are a large number of tents and trucks and vehicles and so on that you can actually see over there so there is there is conclusive proof that China is sitting on the Indian side of the line of actual control but it exists there in the satellite photographs right in front of you the second sort of area that is a real concern you see over here is the plan Gong so you see the bank also with some of the heights completely barren mountains on its banks and here what has happened is that you see this is the satellite photograph of the lake it’s also got a sort of elbow to it that elbow has look above the elbow there is a sort of annotation there called finger fall on a spur that comes down runs down from the high mountain of over there it is obscured by the fang gong so notation that’s per finger for comes down you would see a red line marked over there that used to be the Chinese version of the line of actual control the Indian version of the line of actual control is further to the right of the map that’s to the east you see in yellow lettering NEAC written over there running through what is called finger 8 India has always believed and contended that finger 8 is the line of actual control China has contended that finger 4 is the line of actual control Indian patrols have always come from the area to the west and patrolled up to the thing you talk to finger 8 where the yellow line is there’s a yellow arrow see and Chinese patrols have come to finger 4 and gone back from there now what has happened this time though is that Chinese patrols didn’t go back

they have Stas down until before they have started constructing defenses over there those mountain heights that overlook these fingers finger two three four five six seven and eight have all been occupied by the Chinese there are several thousand Chinese troops on full defensive mode in this area and they look like they’re there to stay because they are constructing permanent defenses made of concrete and so on and so forth so what is effectively happened it’s important to sort of get a sense of or to take an analysis of what has happened as the result of all these incidents now the first thing that has happened is that by effectively trespassing across the border at multiple points from north to south China has effectively shifted the line of control towards India from east to a few kilometers west the PLA by virtue of occupying the key points along this new line actually prevents in there from exercising its rights which you have done through patrolling so far now those patrols are not allowed to go to India’s contention of the line of actual control and when you don’t patrol your sort of claim line as it were then you are not really exercising your claim secondly and this is very important to understand China has taken these measures for one of the key reasons are to protect its vulnerabilities in the excit what are its vulnerabilities in the oxide chain the key vulnerability is the western hyway as we saw on the map short by little from depth on that’s that place near the Karakoram pass let me head back to the map so that you’re there from depth on where Donath big old e is annotated and the Karakoram pass is marked with us with the star the territory heading to the right is called the depth unclean and it’s a laugh large flat plane where vehicles can travel and traverse and go without a problem and China’s fear has always been that India can launch tanks and armored vehicles and quickly cover the time the time there was distance from depth song to the Hun add to the Western highway and threaten the Western highway or worse still capture or interdicted so by going into the depth song area the Chinese have preempted this they are preventing India from going over there second issue is the southern approach to depth song which goes along this new road that we have built along the Shoukry fir that passes from Calvin and goes on to the north this road China is now able to choke off by its presence at the galvan Valley so to safeguard its National Highway it has sort of imposed a block on the DEP song claim and imposed the ability to create a block on the double show dollop big ol D highway at girl one where the Galvan River meets the show the area around hot spring and pangong lake also provides the springboard for Indian troops to go and threaten the earth the oxygen highway if you notice the exciting highway on this road from oxygen travels south and passes the the pangong lake very close to it where Tibet is written that road that also provides an access route for main gates for the southern approach to the to the oxygen highway and by occupying hot spring and taking a position at Pangong Lake China prevents India from doing this as well now why does India so the why is China suddenly got this bee in its bonnet about protecting the xin highway why is it suddenly all after all these years of normal patrolling with incidents my in-between-y in China suddenly decided to take these radical steps to protect the exciting highway the reason is rather simple most analysts believe that India’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir in on August 5th last year when it effectively sort of annulled article 370 and divided the state into two union territories Jammu

and Kashmir being one and topping the other and more importantly the statements by the Home Minister mr. Amit Shah in Parliament saying that India will get back its still lost territories and naming the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as well as oxide chain specifically has set the cat amongst the pigeons on the Chinese side at that time the Chinese Foreign Office spokeswoman specifically mentioned that this was unacceptable and now we are seeing what China means by unacceptable because what China is saying is China is signaling I should say is that if you are threatening the ex I chain then we will take steps to protect it so that is one very sort of major reason it’s not enough – for a Amit Shah to make the statement there at the end of last year Raj Nath Singh went and very prominently inaugurated a bridge over the shock river on the highway that took all of a Goldie Highway and with great fanfare sort of said that our highway is ready arousing Chinese fears even further so there’s too much talk that has been happening too much posturing too little understanding of the strategic dimensions of what you are saying a belief that we are addressing just the domestic audience when we make these statements but China is listening to pockets is listening to and they are basing their actions based on what you are saying as a country what India is signalling so these have been sort of two very major reasons for this extending the China’s influence to the shock valley also has another very geopolitical effect China is signaling to its iron brother Pakistan they call to each other iron brothers that this Kashmir action has threatened both of us equally we are both for the first time geopolitically militarily strategically and politically joint in our interests and in our set perceptions of what India is doing so by coming to the show the Chinese are actually opening the door for a joint military action by Pakistan and China mind you I am NOT saying this is anywhere near happening but this is now a real possibility with China moving down the show and Pakistan traveling up the show the show flows into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and gilgit-baltistan a little further it comes down does a u-turn and flows up again by coming down and linking up on the show Valley Pakistan and China effectively cut off this whole chunk this year that you see that ear-shaped part of the map that India has sort of claimed and also the shook Valley as well as the sketch in the Glacia sector they all get cut off from the rest of India and that would be a huge geopolitical loss for India it would be a huge loss of peace for India but China and Pakistan are now coming closer to the point where this might be a real lever that could be exercised so all of this is just the military case that would excite the People’s Liberation Army there’s also the G political case China has been sort of exercised as we all know over India’s growing closeness to the United States of America India’s sort of inching forward towards militarizing the quadrilateral alliance in which a concept of democracy is an anti China concept of democracies as Beijing sees it comes into place with an alliance with a not an alliance for the partnership between the United States Australia Japan and India so that could be sort of one more thing that is threatening Pakistan and finally in Pakistan would be also wanting to slap down India and signal to it that we are the preeminent power over here at the apex of the Asia security pyramid sits just one power and that is China so China could be hoping to signal that as well finally US analysts also take note of the economic imperatives that

are driving China recently China India blocked foreign direct investment from Chinese firms specifically mentioning that countries with contiguous land borders with India can’t invest in Indian firms and the aim was quite simple and understandable New Delhi did not want Chinese cash rich government supported companies to pick up Indian distressed companies whose value had been knocked down by the Kovach pandemic so there’s also the economic dimension of the 5g rollout in India and China perhaps wanting to signal that in Chinese firms should be given a level playing field to participate in that as well so that’s where the situation stands right now and the question that comes to mind is given the seriousness of this predicament and it is clearly unsure after my gloomy forecast there are some who would believe and agree with me that this is gloomy all right why then is the government soft-pedaling and insisting that nothing has happened and that no Chinese troops or foreign troops of any integer have crossed the yellow NAC into Indian Territory oh I have my sort of views on that and I will share it with you I think over 18 to 19 meetings between Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi Modi may have understand is understood Xi Jinping but the Chinese President has understood the Indian Prime Minister very well he has understood that mr. Modi’s political formula of muscular him Hindu nationalism does not allow him to admit a debacle or a setback especially a military setback of any kind oh so it was entirely predictable that when she gave me okay for these intrusions he knew that in a way he would be supported by the Indian government which would continue to insist that nothing has happened even as Chinese troops move into Indian Territory so Modi is a sort of statement after the June 15th incident and its subsequent retraction gives you an idea of what exactly the game here is moody said and I quote him exactly NACO a cosa hare na ko in Kosovo which means nobody has entered Indian territory and nobody is currently inside Indian territory but he was right on perhaps he could have argued you know specially after saying that I was talking only about Galvan the first clarification only about Galvan not about pangong sector he may have been I don’t think he was I think there were Chinese patrols in Galvani even at that point but he could have argued that he was right on a because on here but when he was arguing that na hue Kusaka we are now going musa hair he is patently wrong over there because it’s a perfect trap from the Chinese side because if he says not going goes our hair that would mean that the Indian troops that went in to check the Chinese de-escalation and this is sort of withdrawal from Indian Territory ah did they go into Chinese territory because if they encountered to place on Indian Territory then it means Chinese troops brought in an Indian territory and if it were took place in the Chinese side as mr. Modi seemed to imply then India was tacitly expecting Beijing’s position which is that Indian troops had aggressed into Chinese territory and therefore the Chinese were justified in fighting back it was a perfect trap and I sorry to say about the Indian government fell into it hook line and sinker also it means that China now cannot negotiate I beg your pardon India cannot negotiate for Chinese troops to withdraw from Indian territory and restore the status quo – way to breaking my voice is breaking is that better yeah it’s okay okay so it also means yeah is is this fine shall I continue he hasn’t occurred to you okay it also means that India cannot negotiate for Chinese troops to withdraw from Indian territory and restore the status quo

that existed before April because the Prime Minister himself has said that there are no Chinese troops in Indian Territory so how does India then get up and say you please vacate Indian territory it sort of supports the Chinese position once again xi Jinping would also have noticed India sort of limited appetite for confronting China directly in quite in sharp contrast to his willingness to take on Pakistan to a do surgical strikes to do airstrikes and so on but with China the Indian government has trodden very softly over sort of preceding months despite China for a sort of opposing India’s membership into the Nuclear Suppliers group despite China on multiple occasions putting a technical hold on the designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist despite China building the china-pakistan economic corridor through Indian claim territories in the face of Indian sort of objections Moody despite all of this has soft pedaled in his criticism of China’s actions in Taiwan where it is very very threatening Lee it’s sort of tearing up a treaty in Hong Kong where it has imposed new security laws its actions on curbing the spread of Kovach 19 India has sort of been very sort of softly if I may invent a word on these issues also China would have noticed that we’re in the Dhokla confrontation in 2017 after the two sides agreed on a mutual withdrawal India adhere to it terms of the mutual aid role it did not reinterred Oakland but China re-entered Oakland re militarized the northern half of Brooklyn and India just that quietly and said nothing so Xi Jinping would have taken note also of the fact that India is hesitant to to sort of criticize China n is therefore a soft target for an operation of the kind that we are doing before I open for question and answers I’ll just go a little way into back into history just to give you a sense of how the line of actual control came to be what it is and where it stands right now we could start sino-indian border history in the great game in the 19th century we could start with the similar conference in 2014 but I’ll start it will lead up to the 1962 war that was the first time China actually spent out its claim line in 1956 it was reiterated in 1959 by a Chou Enlai and then a new claim line sort of came into being in 1960 which went a little further into Indian Territory and then those 3,000 kilometers square kilometers that were captured in the 1962 war also became a part of China’s tilt read at least it’s claimed they’re free and that’s where the line of actual control starts right now post the 1962 war both sides agreed to pull back several kilometers from the border to sort of maintain a safe distance to ensure that you know a flash point was not reached again like the Dola post or like the comb kala incident or like the long jus incident that serve this snatched point that night service national means for another war so both sides pulled a long way back from border India especially especially because New Delhi was by the end of the 1962 war fairly traumatized by Chinese actions they wanted to play it absolutely safe and to make sure that nothing happened that might set off you know an incident of this case so we remained a long way off the border for many years then in 1975 New Delhi set up a group called the China study group that was directed specifically to focus on China related issues and to recommend strategy and how to deal with China it was a very hush-hush organization it still exists it’s still a very hush-hush organization key elements of China policy are still made by the China Study Group and what the China Study Group did was it said that we will allow the Indian army to move back closer to the border but we will set up a limit of patrolling short of the LEC to ensure that nobody crosses the NAC even by mistake and figures off another incident so limit of patrolling was established in 1975 when in 1983

that limit of patrolling was moved even closer to the NAC it still exists in very many places it is sort of like in some places it’s about a kilometre short of the line of control in others it’s one and a half kilometers so while Chinese soldiers come and patrol right up to their claim line the Indian soldiers patrol only up to their limit of patrolling which is a little short of the eclaim line and that’s a sort of an interesting sort of dimension or difference between the two and also flag a date November 1985 during the 6th round of border talks between India and China China signaled up till then China had been signaling that we can resolve the border and reach a solution on the basis of what is called an East for West swap India would you concede China’s claims in the western sector that is give oxygen to China and a few are the niblets of territory that it claims and in exchange China will drop its claim to Arunachal Pradesh in the east surrender exclaimed – what call South’s it was a good deal it still is a good deal if it was offered they knew Danny would bite China’s hand off in trying to accept it but a November 1985 in the sixth round of border talks china says signaled for the first time that India would also have to make substantial concessions in the eastern sector in Arunachal Pradesh and india takes that to mean that it would have to surrender its claim to the Dabangg tract which is not likely to do it’s a very strategically important piece of territory so that I was just wanting to flag that gate as well a year later the Samba Namjoo incident is in in Arunachal Pradesh also in the Kevon sector where a Chinese sort of patrol occupied a post claimed by India India completely built up troops and said we will not surrender on this issue and I am flagging this for you because I want to sort of illustrate to you how local military commanders can actually change the direction of policy there was a corps commander who was commanding that Corps for four and Facebook which was responsible for this area assumed the wrong to where the Chinese had come and sat and this officer was a firebrand said I am NOT going to allow China to nibble away at my territory I will throw the Chinese out a New Delhi jumped on his case and said no no no no no no don’t figure an incident the Chinese will mobilize across the border there will be another war and so on and so forth this officer insisted he said I am NOT asking you for any resources I’d want no additional troops my own troops will do the job so you became into a symbol of Indian strategic handling of border incursion and it was very very sort of carefully noted by China that the Indian attitude seems to be changing and the outcome of that was over a sort of period of time China’s signal that it wanted to talk and Rajiv Gandhi visited Beijing in 1988 and that led to these five agreements in 1993 1996 2005 2012 and 2013 five agreements were signed between India and China on confidence-building measures on the border sort of the line of actual control this began with the 1993 peace and tranquility agreement and it was basically an agreement between two sovereign equals that their military will behave in a manner that does not trigger another crisis it was a very sort of important agreement and would have still been held holding had not something changed in the Chinese attitude sometime around 2010-2011 when China realized that it was becoming a big power they then came a series of incursions and incidents on the Indian border Epsilon 2012 to March 2013 and Dhokla 2017 that actually led to the current faceoff where we have seen a tendency for patrols not to adhere to the peace and tranquility agreement and the confidence will be measured but

instead to start jostling and pushing each other and creating problems no shots who have been fired so far that’s one saving grace but this recent incident of June the 15th was the natural combination point of this down slant in relations and downslide and behavior of the two militaries specifically the pla on the line of actual control I think I’ve gone on a little longer than I intended to but I’ll call it off here and I’m open the floor for question and answers AJ over to you thank you thank you we come here and I think you have clinically analyzed the situation that shows what we have when an expert talks to us and we also have a surfeit of questions and always we can answer but how many we can answer but I will go one after the other but how would you do now want to close your screen sharing I’m sure the question is how stop share I’m becoming technically savvy dressing this meeting yeah is that yeah so there are many many questions but I’m sure that most of these questions that comes as you have answered with what I’ve learned the last few minutes it’s clinical analysis of the situation at the border some of the questions are in this category Jack hunter say asks us what are India’s military options against China at the time is our Air Force ready to take on China and how philosophize is the Indian military system should I go with that or any other questions ok India’s military options are basically sleep old and lot of this depends on how China takes things forward from here one option and Isis is the option which the Indian military has already exercised then in the process of exercising involves sitting down in front of the Chinese that have impressed into Indian Territory in what is called mirror deployment you know just face to face to prevent them from embracing any further from going any deeper into Indian Territory and to sort of signal that the Indian military was ready to take them on now this goes hand in hand with a larger deployment in areas to the rear to the interior of India where you mobilize more forces and move them up so that in the event of situation escalating any further in the event of fighting breaking out or in the event of China committing its reserves which are still on the Chinese side of the LSE in both in depth on in the Galvan area in the pang Wang area in the demchoke area there’s an estimation in some quarters that China might have as much as two mechanized divisions that’s about 35,000 troops with tanks artillery air support ready to sort of be thrown into the fray in case of any escalation by the Indians so the Indians would have to also mirror that the second option for India is to not continue sort of worrying about what areas China has occupied but to go into empty areas where Chinese defenses are not that strong and to counter occupy Chinese territory as well which should then be traded off in a border negotiation for the territory that China has occupied that would be a subsequent negotiation phase but it would give India cards to play at the negotiating table it would give India something to sort of negotiate an extra two and over to China in exchange for its territories and it could be a proactive option it would be sort of an option that would not make India seem weak and watery in its response but proactive and it would give China cause for concern it might make China change its opinion of India as a soft touch as a country that you can play around with and walk into it you’re sort of women fancy and there will be no consequences finally there is that area the the the question of sort of allowing escalation to take place in fact encouraging escalation and then falling back on your nuclear option this is of course a very risky option this would

mean sort of an outbreak of any extent the fighting and once a nuclear sort of confrontation takes place and I’m not talking about the actual use of weapons I’m talking about the signalling of the use of weapons there is no telling which direction that might go so these are in my opinion the military options on your question of air support India’s air support combat fighter numbers are significantly lower than those of the Chinese the Chinese sort of are concentrated for now mainly in mainland China they have annual exercises where they deploy to airfields in Tibet like not even saw and other once she got say and so on they could be used from there against Indian troops it is important to note that in the 1962 war India decided against using airpower a decision that many felt in retrospect was misguided why because Indian air support which would operate from low altitudes take-off from lower altitudes and house planes to get airborne with greater fewer nodes greater weapon loads then are available to planes that are taking off from the high altitudes of Tibet where the oxygen levels are lower and the engines don’t generate that much power some of this can be obviated from the from the Chinese side by use of air-to-air refueling which means that you take off with a full weapons load but a low fuel load and then refuel air-to-air after taking off before going for your mission but that only adds so much to your to your sort of ability to carry weapons India would still be at an advantage the the problem with the assessing PLA ability is that the PLA has not been in a fight for very long and you know while it is technologically well-equipped technologically sort of indigenous solutions have been brought to bear there is sort of some questions over how when all this will work in war and we hope that it is not against India that China finds out whether it works or doesn’t work question here can we link this act by China to the u.s. moving out of Afghanistan which was associated easier to get a few ok to have direct access doctor is it is hard to link what is happening in Afghanistan with what is happening in Ladakh there could conceivably be linkages to militant activity they could conceivably be linkages to sort of activity on the line of control with Pakistan where there is actually a direct sort of link between or a very short link between Afghanistan Khyber Pass province of Pakistan and Kashmir which is an Indian profits but I would be hesitant to to look at Afghanistan as a root cause for what is happening it is more likely to be the strategic relationship between India and China India and the United States I beg your pardon it’s more likely to be firstly provocation from the moves in push me that and the other things that we spoke about I am not so sure that Afghanistan would have had a direct role to play India’s role in Afghanistan has been in any case very humanitarian aid oriented and then he not sort of non-kinetic if I may use that phrase so I don’t think that that in itself would have been a major factor Ajay do you think China has been working on a long-term strategy over the last 15 20 years to establish its hegemony across a large part of region outside its own territories and this is a natural extension of that long-term plan yes I do think so I think that China is very single-mindedly more than any major power in history it has actually laid down milestones in years you know by the 60th anniversary of this we will do this by the 70th fifth anniversary of this we’ll do this and by the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of communist China we will become a global power they have spelt it out for all of us in writing and in multiple documents

what why would we doubt what China is say they clearly have the intention they clearly have the ability they clearly have the leadership they clearly have the lack of scruple that is involved in moving towards a great power sort of orientation China is has got a very strong civilizational sense of itself and it’s moved to being a great bar is considered a Chinese circles to be the absolute logical return of the great power status that it has enjoyed for so many centuries earlier there’s nothing to doubt in this this should be taken as an absolute granted and India should base its strategy its China strategy at least on that I I’ll ask one more questions if how how reality how real does a war look and if the water does happen what are our chances of meeting that war on a at a military level against this alright I want to tell you if there is a war we will go into shame or not go so many in the war for us I would I would say this and I’m not being gloomy and depressing now we are closer to a sino-indian war today than at any time since 1962 there there is an intent that I see in what China is doing in the way that it has built up forces in the purposefulness with which it is entered Indian territory in the ruthlessness with which it is continuing to progress operations in this complete sort of single-mindedness with which it is engaging in dialogue at the diplomatic level and the military level together with not moving any troops at all from its from the positions they have occupied China is here to stay at least by all signals that we see today now it has not decided to pin out troops it is only strengthening its defenses and that leaves India with a very hard choice is in they are going to take hard action to affect the Chinese or to bypass the Chinese or is India going to accept the status quo for India which has a pretty good civilizational sense of its own power and its own place in history and current affairs to just accept what is going on would be a difficult thing so I think that you could well have an escalation of tensions whether it will escalate all the way to war I don’t know I sincerely hope not I hope better sense prevails on one or the other side but I go back to my formulation this is the worst it’s been since 1962 so what should India do simple I would not presume to sort of guide mr. Modi who now has a hard reverse gear to engage but I will say this the government of India is in possession of information which none of us are in possession of there is satellite intelligence that they have there is technical radio intelligence communications intelligence that they have they have they are in possession of one crucial thing that none of us are in possession of which is that presumably in the diplomatic dialogue China would have signaled or given a sense of why it is doing this and what I it’s specific demands of India I think that based on that India will be making its key decisions if those demands are unacceptable if those demands involved too much of humiliation for India if those demands involve a complete blow to India status as the rising power well then I don’t think India would be able to do nothing so it’s it’s it sort of depends really on what is being talked behind the scenes right now I hope they are finding a solution what the present status in Arunachal Pradesh and what about the legitimacy of claims of Chinese games in our interpretation done one and I have a follow-up question on that did show and I offer this as a solution that you give up extraction for

you would wait for a fractional Russia yes the the solution the answer to that lot latter part of the question is yes numerous accounts of the visits of Chou Enlai to India indicate that yes indeed China did make that offer the offer was on the table for many years in 1983 Deng Xiao ping again signaled the same offer but two years later they pulled it off the table there is belief that one of the reasons why they did so was that having had time to go through the Tibetan archives in Lhasa they found better sort of arguments for Tibetan control over la / Taba and therefore decided to put abang in as a sort of demand for Hinton’s where it is important to remember that until 1951 that’s four years after independence Tibet continued to exercise administrative jurisdiction over tava only in 1951 did an Indian Assam Rifles patrol actually march into the van and ask the Tibetan administrators to leave since this was Indian Territory and sort of it indicates that China at least believes that it has a case on tava it can argue the case it may decide at a later stage to to sort of throw the bong as a bargaining chip to sort of in exchange for other concessions elsewhere something that might provide better protection for example to the oxygen Highway because the wrong sort of has only one real value for the Chinese and that is that it’s a centre of Buddhist theology it houses the divan monastery which radiates power and Buddhist influence across the border and you know China is also very sensitive about the NIDA mass presence in India and the presence of 120,000 Tibetan refugees so all of that combined with divan monastry and its power might be something that makes makes it a must-have for China on the other hand you know it’s also a must-have for India there’s too much emotive baggage to tawan it was lost in 1962 China ruled it for a month more than a month actually before it will drew across the border China tried it’s best to tell the people of the one that you know you are look at you and look at us you know are you more like a so are you more like the Indians but to their credit the people of the bomb did not waver in their support for even one minute they had seen what China had done to the Buddhists of Tibet so over the preceding decade and they were not going to follow that same faith so China and so Tehran I beg your pardon remains one of the most staunchly Indian restrict the country and that is not likely to change so this is true of Arunachal Pradesh in general the insurgency really sort of written atmosphere of the Northeast does not apply to chill Pradesh or not reservations one of India’s most staunchly Indian states that’s very very heartening to hear is the question is the relationship with Nepal over India and Nepal and have you lost it and do can we ever renegotiate with older normalcy and we China use that as a weapon now so China is already using Nepal as a weapon China is using it with a mix of carrots and sticks Chinese pressure on Nepal especially at their border crossings is very evident you know at that border crossing at the friendship highway you see no Nepalese troops over there when you go there you see mainly PLA soldiers and border guards so they’ve effectively taken control of that crossing they also put a lot of pressure on the Nepalese leadership to to sort of tow the chinese line against india and it has to be said and it has to be considered that new delhi has plundered massively in angle relationship with their fall so and that makes it that makes Nepal the right fig to fall into China’s lap you know we have achieved success in many relationships Bangladesh being one of them where we have sort of improved relations a long way but Nepal is in a in a sort of in a bad way but relationship and unless the statesmanship exercised by India and a degree of magnanimity shown and a degree of big brother nearness I think China

will continue to harbor the sense of grievance that it has at being and not of this is that small power versus big power sort of natural syndrome they feel exploited they feel that they didn’t get that you they feel India should give them more and the fact of the matter is that if India wants to be a regional power it will have to get them more it will have to concede more than it gets it does that with Bhutan it does that with Afghanistan it does that with Maldives it does that with a lot of countries but with a Paul I’m afraid it’s been less forthcoming and you know the the sort of line of approach that we are followed in imposing a blockade on Nepal and you know we will show Nepal what Indian power is and so on it was entirely the wrong way to go so Nepal has been mishandled and Nepal relationship needs to be repaired which other major power will side India and support India if there is a configuration since this crisis started in April the 19th I used the date at which a Chinese buildup was detected three occasions have taken place in which senior US officials have called up the Indian establishment and offered support and said that let us know if there is anything that we can do so far the Indian government has said we will handle China on our own the belief is that the problem is resolved but the United States will come to our help at a moment’s notice for them it will be the Indian sort of fig falling into their lap if I may reuse that trace because so far India has been very restrained in pursuing its relationship with the United States it has come nowhere near an alliance it has sort of not even agreed to do joint patrolling numerous offers of the u.s. for joint patrolling of the Indian it is it is maintaining a certain distance and the United States would be very happy to see that distance bridged and it would come to India’s aid the way it did in 1962 with weapons with aircraft with military advice so to that extent there is there is a India but not find itself alone but the the the problem will be with Russia because Russia is now walking a balancing act between India and it is sort of it has not taken a position on this incident as well it said India and China should sort this out it’s a so your traditional strategic partner Russia will be maintaining some distance I predict whereas the United States will come in offer support in a big way for too long well China has sort of in its Annunciations of vital national interest it has sort of included Taiwan and it has said that any sort of action to foment separatism in Taiwan or promote separatism in Taiwan is an action that will go against China the vital national interests now it has said the same thing about Tibet so while India could play the Tibet card or play the Taiwan card it needs to be conscious that it would be so the fiddling with China’s designated vital national interests and the the response from the Chinese side will almost certainly be to fiddle with India’s vital national interests and Kashmir is sitting there waiting to be fiddled it’s a it’s a situation that if they are handle massively the August 5th sort of change of designation and change of status of Jammu and Kashmir has alienated even the most die-hard and staunch Indian supporters in Kashmir the Kashmir is against India almost to a man and we absolutely are vulnerable to meddling in Kashmir and I would not want to create a situation where I would encourage China to also join the fray and to start acting against India’s interests in Kashmir was there anything particular

about this moment why time act anything particular about this moment if I’m a kid yeah well I already brought that out in my presentation it was a combination of multiple issues economic issues it was a combination of strategic issues it was a combination of the need to signal support to Pakistan it was the combination of India’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir it was a combination of Indian bluster it was a combination of the beliefs that India will not be able to respond strongly because it hasn’t responded strongly in the past so there’s a huge coming together of multiple reasons that might have led China to act in the way that it did you can read the Pakistani newspaper they say that India is an expansionist view also say that from their point of view they see India having annexed this particular government as an expansionist view and the problem well I don’t think we should go by what Pakistan says I think that Pakistan is almost certainly going to say India as an expansionist view the fact of the matter is that most analysts all across the globe agree that India is the state status quo power and Pakistan is the revisionists power and the reason is that Katrina’s legally and lawfully acceded to India and Pakistan is seeking to change that status through armed action Pakistan is also sort of playing a far more religionist role in Afghanistan whereas India is sort of trying to preserve the status quo trying to preserve the existing elected Afghan government so I wouldn’t go by Pakistan sort of allegations Pakistan has to make diplomatic points and Pakistan is doing that I don’t blame them for it but I think that if anything India has been definitely sort of mild and sort of laid-back and subservient in its approach to overall global great pop I don’t think it is sort of pressed as hard as it could avoid as it should have for things that should have been its due but that’s the way India is I think that India has a preoccupation with internal politics with internal development and that is a the way it should be I don’t think we should be going around at this stage now being a revisionist power projecting power across the globe we have enough problems inside we have enough development work to do within the country that’s where we should be focusing now do you also see it as an intelligence failure it was a it was an intelligence failure but in a different way this time we got intelligence and we had every indication that the Chinese were mobilizing and that they were sort of coming in numbers to the area opposite the Indian border where the mistake Lee was in assessment it was assessed by the Indian side that this is not anything unusual and this is a regular pattern this is in conformity with patterns of the past China will mobilize China will deploy China will do its exercises and then the troops will go back where they came from accepted that China had other plans so to that extent it is an intelligence failure it’s an intelligence failure of a different kind and I think it was an intelligence failure where people wanted to hear something you know India was reeling under the scope with pandemic in Paris was trying to isolate its truce and they didn’t want to hear that there’s a huge problem brewing up on the border and you need to mobilize and get there fast so sometimes you find that intelligence is tailored to what the recipient wants to hear it’s one of those natural phenomena so I would say that yes there was a degree of intelligence failure but it’s now an operational ation it’s now an issue which is squarely in the hands of operational planner Cooter’s also to that extent intelligence has Nestle and friend is asking what is the situation of the pandemic in the territories where this is happening is there a low load is that why activities are still happening from both sides when the last style recall the doc had a caseload of 78 people but that was sometime back but the population density

is so low there that you know even 78 seems like a lot Ladakh is also sort of pretty primitive in terms of medical facilities and so on there hasn’t been a lot of health care development and data so the people there I in any case you know every once you come to know that there’s such a hobby lot and they get along with so little that the Indian Planning Commission has never even thought of giving the darker sort of a unique status and and sort of developing health care facilities over there so I think that Ladakh is concerned about the kovat issue it has had a number of patients enough to worry it but it’s not yet in hot spring Hot Springs and goona are not down your villages or anything there is no habitation over there they are points on a map and when you see a Hot Springs you’re referring to an area pardon you’re referring to a place on the line of actual control now I’ll go graph the Chinese have been crest when it when I last heard which was yesterday about three kilometers into the Indian side so yes I would say they are in possession which is not very good news good news they’re in possession at multiple points along the line of actual control the question here and I too wanted to ask you the same question it then is do see India having some trouble NCA tional oh well the action conundrum I have already sort of laid out if Pakistan and China operate along the shoke axis and link up on the shoke India would have lost Sachin India would have lost the NuBra Valley India would have lost this whole third book area India would have lost the dollar copay Goldy area this is all sort of seriously threatened area these are viable military operations that we are contemplating over here from Pakistan and from China the only thing that is presumably holding them back is what consequences might follow from India not just in terms of neither threat of nuclear use but also in terms of pushing India into the lap of the United States into alienating India forever all for a piece of territory that really doesn’t sort of offer very much beyond the great scenery triad Pakistan sort of acting in seotc in itself no it has tried that many times in the past years since 1984 when India occupied the saltoro ridge India occupies all the dominating heights on Sachin India completely controlled Sachin Pakistani troops cannot even visually see the glacier any longer they they are obstructed by the saltoro ridge in India whole facade on which the glacier itself doesn’t have troops on a troop deployment it’s so thoroughly protected so Pakistan is not in a position to change anything in the church in Galatia but this joint operation with China poses a certain degree of threat which India I’m sure is looking at there’s an interesting question slightly long ish but I’ll read it for you in 2017 the Indian Army had a similar phase of myth PLA in the Bhutanese territory of the klom the faceoff lasted 73 deulim was a strategic plateau at the tri junction of India Bhutan in China border gifted to India by Bhutan as India is responsible for both hands defense the diplomatic commands an excellent view of the China’s to be ready that time we let the Chinese shift the status quo in their favor that time also same claims that no Indian territory was lost we are made and that is true because the country which lost territory was Putin the capture of Heights is the main intent of nearly being in position of fight gives a big advantage to armies being real Indian Army or PLA this is what happened in Debrecen Kumar and Oakland and Galvan would use this when I agree almost 99% with with what this populations it poses absolutely but then I would take issue with Bhutan has not effectively gifted to clamp to it here Bhutan has gifted

the responsibility for protecting the clamp to India that – not entirely there is a royal Bhutanese army that is charged with responsibility as well but Bhutan ting a small country in a country that does not spend too much on militaries is naturally dependent on India he is also correct in saying that we we were taken for a ride during the withdrawal process the China came back and we occupied areas it he is also correct in saying that capturing the heights is everything which is why these heights overlooking the Galvan Valley the shoulders of the estuary at the heights overlooking the pangong lake are already being sort of occupied by China and they’re taking defenses and sort of beefing up their presence on these Heights so to that extent I mean every soldier knows and every infantryman is brought up cutting his teeth on this axiom that the heights and control of the heights is everything that’s the basic tenets of water and the Chinese for sure know that and they are taking action to to consolidate their presence based on this axiom and hopefully good do you think we should question here you should have joined the OBO are maybe tactically that could have softened trader stand against us i that’s a very sort of arguable point from both sides i personally tend to believe that china is a monster that has to be fed and if you feed him one thing he will demand another so whether you if you concede on on OB you are or the CPC has the manifestation of felt and good initiative is at least for us china would probably then sort of ask for something more and then ask for something more but the question really is the decision on whether to concede on a point or not concede on a point should not be made based on whether the originator will be offended or will take it to heart or to see it as a friendly gesture rather such decisions have to be made based on whether they suit the national indian interests whether it works out to India’s economic interests whether Indian trade clothes will be enhanced by the belt and road project that they’re building in Pakistan and if if so if India concludes that there are advantages to be gained then it has to think through the whole process of how it will link into that infrastructure what will be exchanged what will be our exports that benefit from that what could we import down that route so this is an economic issue it’s not a strategic sort of issue of placating a country and I don’t think that the decision should be made based on that I hope you don’t mind another five seven minutes yeah I’m perfectly fine okay Vikram you had a question or Schrager you are okay one question is no it’s not a question it’s an information given by one of the participants that today morning at the monkey bath the Prime Minister has declared that India has given China a befitting reply I have no idea whether this is true or not but this is a in the question that has been posed in which case we have little to worry and have it in reply that we we no need to firstly congratulate ourselves and secondly wait for China’s reply to that reply when you start escalating a particular issue or a confrontation you don’t decide when that estimation closes there are two people who get to vote in that and two sides that will have a vote not sure what the Prime Minister was speaking about perhaps he was speaking about the casualties goes to the Chinese buyer if soldier who caught up in that June’s 15 flash if he is talking about that then it’s one thing if he’s talking about another incident that has taken place over the last couple of days then we have the potential for escalation and I’m sure that would have been taken into account and factored in before we escalate escalate it ourselves but escalation is a two-edged sword and that

has to always be borne in mind why this tactically why does the Prime Minister of India make statements like this I don’t think I think making settles like that well of his defense minister or somebody else to make the stage I had sort of touched on the issue of muscular into nationalism here I will add to that that burn jarppi narrative which sort of which has the Prime Minister placing himself center stage and all manly activities you would recall that he also claimed adding advised the Air Force to stage the Bala quote attack that night even though there were clouds because clouds would hide the fighters when they went across so I think there’s a desert really ridiculous brand of self-centeredness that you see over here it is not enough for the defense minister to make a statement or any other minister has to be made by the Prime Minister himself and that is taken up by these hordes of supporters who have sort of seen mr. moody in godly light and who believed that he can do anything and is capable of any food now the question of banning of Chinese goods seems a foolish thing to do but what happens if China decides to ban its ports to India we don’t even faster again we’re interlinked economies for example the pharmaceutical sector which is one of India’s big cash cow foreign exchange earners is based almost to a very large degree I don’t know the exact percentage on bulk drug formulations coming from China the same is true of other industries as well where there are into linkages across the border so and to get the best out of your sort of economy that’s the way it has to be so I mean the United States despite its strategic contest with China continues to sort of deal with Chinese supply chains and propagate those supply chains on a major way Japan which is one of China’s major competitors in the Asia Pacific which has a boundary dispute a maritime dispute with China has China as its biggest trading partner that the same is true of countries like Vietnam Philippines all over the place if India wants to do I itself the benefits of the Chinese economy then in the indian economy will suffer as well that’s that’s something that every economist is in agreement on then you’re saying then that we can never fight china now we can never go what make upon goodbye china because they have a great hold on us and they can dictate terms is it what you say I don’t know this this argument that you know countries that trade together don’t fight was against each other well it’s continuously disproved in 1914 when Germany and England back to war so there isn’t really a direct established linkage between trade and war walk in sort of disrupt trade walk and bring trade to a temporary halt then the economic logic of trade has a certain momentum of its own I would I would sort of not subscribe to the argument that just because India and China have a trade relationship and for example the bad drugs that India uses China the two will never fight I don’t I don’t accept that linkage yes you