• The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers have exchanged strong protests over the recent Himalayan clashes which led to the death of 20 Indian troops.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised that the sacrifice of Indian soldiers will not go in vain, while the Chinese have warned India to not “misjudge”.
• The developments have eerie similarities with the events that led to the 1962 war. However, India, having learnt from the blunders of 1962, is better prepared for mountain warfare.
What is the status of talks between India and China?
• With India using strong diplomatic language against China, the gains made between the two sides in recent years now effectively stand reversed. The good news is that the two sides are still committed to ‘de-escalation’ though they interpret it differently.
• India on June 17 over a telephonic conversation between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi conveyed its protest in “strongest terms” to China over the violent face off in the Galwan valley on the night of June 15 and said that China had attempted to erect a structure on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto border between the two nations.
• New Delhi also said that the Chinese side took “premeditated and planned” action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties including deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.
Why are tensions still rising?
• the fact that soldiers have died on either side will make it difficult for India and China to stand down from their hard positions anytime soon.
• The government of India has asked all military units to be in a state of high readiness – on operational alert – for any deployment in light of the high tension on the China border.
• As per many media reports, another meeting at the level of Major Generals is likely to take place at Galwan, the site of the violent conflict, on June 18. The major item on the agenda will be restoration of the status quo ante in the area, in line with decisions taken at the June 6 meeting of Corps Commanders at the Chushul-Moldo border point.
• India appears to be preparing for the worst case scenario. The Indian Army had already moved its units forward in May, closer to the LAC, in all three sectors of the Sino-Indian border. While the Indian Air Force (IAF) has already moved certain assets to its operational bases, the Navy too has now been asked to intensify its presence in the Indian Ocean Region. Local military commanders have also been told to be ready for any eventuality.
What is LAC and MacMohan Line?
• Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the line drawn across Kashmir, where the two forces were actually stationed when cease fire was declared and accepted by China and India after the Sino-Indian War.
• McMahon Line is an agreed boundary between Tibet and India, by Britain and Tibet in Shimla in 1914 that China doesn’t recognize.