AT a height of 14,000 feet (Galwan Valley), the world’s first and second most populated countries and two nuclear powers engaged in violence. Thankfully for the planet they brawled with fisticuffs and threw stones at each other besides using barbed-wire-enveloped bludgeons to pummel each other.
In the battle that took place over several hours, India lost 20 lives, including an officer commanding (colonel). New Delhi is claiming China lost 43 men as per radio intercepts, and their well-oiled propaganda machinery has run riot and gone to town thereafter.
India is alleging that China’s aim is to “dominate Durbuk-DBO road, strengthen its position in the Fingers area, halt the construction of link roads in Galwan-Pangong Tso [salt lake] and negotiate de-escalation on its terms.” This is the assertion of Maj Gen (Dr) G.G. Dwivedi.
India alleges that not only have the Chinese changed the status quo at the Fingers, the mountain spurs along the lake, but also built substantial structures in the contested region of the Line of Actual Control. The hills protrude into the lake like fingers, and are numbered one to eight from west to east.
According to India, the LAC lies at Finger 8, but China points to Finger 4. The May 27 images by Planet Labs show dozens of new structures, most likely tents, that have come up between Finger 8 and Finger 4 on the north bank of Pangong Tso, one of the main points of contention in the current standoff. The Indian Express (June 6) claims this satellite imagery shows how the Chinese have changed the status quo on Pangong bank.
The Indian media is alleging that China had taken over 640 kilometres of Ladakh territory. On the other hand the Chinese media insists that it is India which has violated the Line of Actual Control.
The Chinese assertion was confirmed by Prime Minister Narender Modi. While addressing an all-party conference Modi said: “Neither have they [Chinese]” intruded into our border, nor has any post been taken over by them [China]. One wonders what was the point in whipping up of war hysteria by the Indian media.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020