Recent India-China face-off at Ladakh is different than the previous provocations at the border. The developments at the LAC have sunk the diplomatic relations to a new low and unprecedented military movement on both sides of LAC. Further the Chinese aggravation in Ladakh seemingly is not linked to a hot head local commander, or army official and displays a more coherent nationalistic approach.
Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane visited Ladakh on Friday to evaluate the situation especially noted the Chinese activity of erecting more than 100 military camps at the Pangong Tso and three pockets in the Galwan Valley region.
The possibility of Chinese soldiers constructing bunkers in some disputed areas cannot be ruled out, officials said. Reports have suggested that the Chinese side has deployed troops, vehicles, and heavy equipment, involved in a military exercise in the area, to the Ladakh sector.
China’s state-run media has described the latest tensions as the worst since the 2017 Doklam standoff, which lasted 73 days. The local army commanders for both sides strive to loosen the tense situation by conducting almost daily table-talks. A slight offshoot in restrains from either side could prove highly in-flammable in this situation.
“What we are witnessing in eastern Ladakh is different from what we saw in Depsang (2013), Chumar (2014), and even Doklam (2017). The previous episodes were localized. This one is not. Also, it appears to have been planned at a higher level,” said Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd), who was the Northern Army commander when Indian and Chinese soldiers were caught in a tense standoff in Ladakh’s Chumar sector in September 2014.
Anyhow, if the stance of the foreign ministries of both countries is taken as an indicator, it seems the current confrontation could carry on for a while.