‘Hot Winters’ Ahead – China Says PLA Needs To Teach A Harsh Lesson To ‘Insincere’ India – OPED

The portents of war between China and India seem to be getting more and more darker by every passing day. The so-many-rounds-of-talks had not been successful, since May 2020 when the heat began to generate, in which India lost 20 of its soldiers on June 15, 2020 clash with China at Galwan valley, and slowly China has started to interfere in Arunachal, Himachal and Uttrakhand as well. 

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Today, the Chinese state media – the Global Times commented on media reports that the Indian Army could fire on Chinese soldiers of they come close. GT says such hype only personifies India as a coward in a lion’s skin.

India and China agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline in their latest talks. This is relatively in favour of India because Delhi has stationed far more soldiers in the region than Beijing.

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In the latest conflict near the Pangong Tso Lake, Indian troops crossed the border and occupied some heights. India is hoping it could maintain such an “advantage,” and hopes the PLA will not “come close.” 

GT says – if the condition is favourable to India, it would advocate that disputes could be resolved by negotiations. This is what happened in early May. But after the conflict on June 15, when India believed it suffered a loss, the country started to clamour for war. After India’s aggression near the Pangong Tso Lake at the end of August, it wanted to talk to China again. 

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The latest slat to the wounds, the 13 hours marathon talks also failed to make a significant breakthrough. It came out to be known that China and India declared not to send further troops, but unfortunately, ‘ a tangible breakthrough on de-escalation eluded the commander-level marathon talks’ informed Times of India on September 23, 2020.

Interestingly, these talks came in the wake of India EAM Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi agreement on ‘five-point’ at SCO meeting in Moscow, as was reported in The Hindustan Times on September 11, 2020.  But, everything seems to be heading for futility despite around 18 such ‘talks’ to have been held in recent past.

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India which had been quite wary of Chinese tactics this time debunked the bi-lateral declaration and on its part decided to enhance its preparation as came the headline of The Economic Times on September 22, 2020  

PLA Soldiers. File Image

‘India-China border tensions: Forces prepare for long haul in Ladakh, ready with winter supplies and accommodations’ and on the same front The Hindustan Times on September 22, 2020, tells that ‘China doubled its air bases, air defenses and heliports near LAC in three years.

There have been numerous reports of China deploying additional troops, special forces, armoured units and air defense units on the Tibetan plateau. The paper refers to a report published in Stratfor it says,  ‘Details of these military positions ( have been ) outlined in a report released on by Stratfor, a leading security and intelligence consultancy.

The new positions include three airbases, five permanent air defence positions and five heliports. Construction on four of those new heliports started only after the onset of the current Ladakh crisis in May,” said the report authored by Sim Tack, Belgium-based security and a military analyst with Stratfor and The Indian Express too on September 22, 2020, carried news on the same lines.

As against the military build-up reported by media sources in India, China has offered a detailed argument as to why China had to take such steps. In an article published in Chinese state-affiliated media The Global Times on September 23, 2020, headlined as ‘India’s stubborn stance an obstacle to China-India frontline disengagement’  China tries to establish points as to how the situations have led to this stage. ‘ Indian strategists tend to believe that China has no ability and willingness to confront India amid strategic pressure from the US.

They surely have their own way to calculate the risks and benefits, but certainly have misjudged China on this. China is protecting its home at its doorstep, and you can imagine how determined it is to push back against bullying from either the US or India.

India tends to clamour about how aggressive China is, and such assertion only illuminates a paradox of logic: If India truly believes China is an aggressive power, what kind of aggressive power will China be if it can’t defend its own soil? The irony is such misjudgment shows only a lack of strategic vision of Indian strategists.

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The Indian government is addicted to its usual tactic of displaying toughness, such as its war preparedness and the inclusion of Rafale fighter jets in the conflicting border areas. It is understandable for them to show a tough image to its own people, but such a display of Indian military muscle will have no effect.

Beijing has far more superior weapons to deploy but has not done so for the sake of mainlining peace and tranquillity along the border areas.  The confrontation and hostility between China and India has lasted since May. There is no longer an ounce of mutual trust between China and India at the strategic level.

There is good reason to believe that even with a temporary plan of disengagement, India will again make provocations when it perceives international environment is in its favour. At any time, Beijing has demonstrated its ability and willingness to match India’s military provocations.

Given India’s constant provocations, China’s military deployments in relevant areas have now improved, and still have far more room for improvement. The choice is in the hands of New Delhi’.

 The situation, therefore now, between China and India is equally drawn and India, in order to bolster its side, has gone ahead to buy drones from the US for 3 billion USD, reports SputnikNews on September 23, 2020, exactly what Washington had wanted as US ultimate objective is to sell weapons to the world,  therefore, ‘Six drones are set to be acquired immediately and delivered in a few months, while the remaining 24 unmanned aerial vehicles are to be purchased over the next three years.

The MQ9-A is satellite-steered, can float above the target at 45,000 feet and stay on task for 35 hours, using radar and electronic support measures to locate the enemy—it could be anywhere, the Gulf of Aden or the Malacca Straits or in Eastern Ladakh’.

The same SputnikNews on September 22, 2020, had pointed that ‘Chinese military activity that we are seeing along the border with India today is only the beginning of a longer-term intent,’  which makes that China and India are now going ahead to roll into a war.

The EurAsian Times on September 22, 2020,  has disclosed that ‘PLA soldiers have been equipped with new clothes with advanced design and technology for better and efficient border management.

The patrol equipment mainly includes cold-proof hoods, warm training clothes, lightweight cold-proof warm training coats, moisture-absorbing and quick-drying underwear, warm fleece underwear, down warm cotton underwear, warm cotton vests and cold-proof outer gloves, among others.  The new equipment can meet PLA soldiers requirements at high altitudes and freezing temperatures in Ladakh’.

The Indian steps taken against China during the Doklam 2017 crisis have been lauded by US intelligence agency as has come through The Eurasian Times on September 25, 2020, the ‘Doklam standoff clearly established that any overstepping (by China) would be resisted by India.

Other experts also noted that India’s counter-strategy in Doklam shocked China as India was not willing to back down and there was nothing that Beijing could do to remove Indian soldiers by force’.

Has this report come to encourage India go-ahead with a war with China? Whereas, at the same time Times of India on September 23, 2020, has informed, with a report, which has very serious implications on India.

It says that ‘ China attacked Indian satellite communications’  based on US source. The TOI reports details that a US-based China Aerospace Studies Institute has published a 142-page report which tells that ‘between 2012-2018 China carried out multiple cyber-attacks’ ( on India) but the Indian scientists have told that their systems are safe.

What might warrant here is a full-fledged inquiry to find out if China has damaged India and the country deserves to know about it. Perhaps, India deserves to be more alert as China is reportedly also laying down 5G optic fiber in Pangong Tso in Ladakh, as disclosed by TOI on September 14, 2020.

India in the possibility of a two sides war, with China and Pakistan, has also given a stringent signal by a  successful launch of Prithvi Missile-2, towards which a report has come from The Eurasian Times on September 25, 2020, which informs that ‘India Tests Powerful Short Range Prithvi-II Missile Amid Soaring Tensions With China, Pakistan’ as An India defence organisation ‘Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired the indigenous Prithvi – II missile, the third weapon tested in the last three days’.

How India is going to face China, in the coming winters in Ladakh has been detailed in a report in The Hindustan Times on September 24, 2020, in which Indian Air force which has been given a shot in the arm by the induction of French Rafale fighter jets is likely to give an answer to China as now both the rivals are ‘evenly-matched’, and together with this ‘Indian choppers (are)ready for winter operations in Ladakh’  has come the headline of The Economic Times on September 24, 2020.

It is now getting true that both the sides have called for the farce of de-escalation but a very strange viewpoint has occurred from the Indian side as an article in The Hindustan Times on September 24, 2020, has tried to establish that Russia has been helping China in its war strategy against India!  ‘Imprint of Russian strategy on Chinese battle plan’ has called the headline. India after 50 years in the Soviet Bloc and with huge Russian imprints on its entire weaponry, has thrown an allegation which might now go well with the Russian establishment, which will surely amuse the US, and may warrant a strong reply from Russia, particularly so, when Russia is privy to all the Indian strengths and weaknesses, and also, when the Russian ambassador to Washington in a recent interview to Asia.Nikkei.Com on September 18, 2020, had said that ‘military-technical-cooperation’ with India has gained momentum.

By Haider Abbas. Edited & GT Story By Syed Shafiq. The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner. He is a media-analyst and writes on international issues.