The skirmishes between Indian and Chinese armies for the last few weeks has reached the deadly face off at Galwan valley on 15 June 2020. It resulted in 20 casualties on the Indian side and 43 (as per the sources claimed) from the Chinese side. It is the major military confrontation between two countries to have fatalities since 1975. With this incident, China once again showcased her habit of encroaching and begetting clashes with neighbours.
For the past few weeks, army personnel and military equipment have been deployed by both armies along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Chinese entered the Indian side and made military outposts in the Indian soil. It led to the confrontation and minor scuffle between two sides. After having negotiations, both sides agreed in the disengagement process on 6 June. As a part of it, both armies were directed to move back by a kilometre.
When Indian personnel were monitoring the process, they noticed a Chinese camp still present on the Indian side. They went to get it removed. But the Chinese attacked and led to physical brawls resulting in deaths.
Hundreds of soldiers were involved in this scuffle from both the armies. The Chinese have used steel poles, clubs, sticks and stones to cause major injuries. During the scuffle as it was learned, many fell into the Galwan river causing physical injuries and deaths as they fell off a cliff at an altitude of 15,000 feet. And some others died due to hypothermia. If there had been a firing taken place, deaths would have been manifold.
Many countries are monitoring the current situation because any escalation would lead to global impact. The United States had said that it could mediate between India and China to resolve the issue. Later, both countries admitted that it is better to address the issue bilaterally without the intervention of any third parties. Russia has firmly stated the current face off is a bilateral issue and interference from others is not needed.
Causes for Chinese Aggression
The reason for the current face off is the infrastructure development along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by India on the Indian side. China has constructed roads and bridges for smooth transit of equipment and personnel on their side along LAC. But it is now showing discontent towards India when the same thing is being done on the Indian side.
Now, Galwan River has become a new hotspot because it is where the LAC is nearest to the new road that India has constructed along the Shyok River to Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO). DBO has the world’s highest airstrip, initially built during the 1962 war with China.
Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) airstrip provides and enhances the logistical support for troops stationed at Ladakh. The airstrip was renewed in 2008 by the then former vice-chief of air staff, Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora without taking any permission from the Government because the proposal for reviving the airstrip was declined at least five times since 1965. However, keeping the importance of the airstrip, Pranab Kumar Barbora reactivated it with a few select officers in a secret mission.
China confronted India because of the strategic location of Galwan Valley and because of its advantages and started claiming the valley belongs to them. However, the Galwan valley belongs to India.
Past confrontations of China with India
1962 – China defeated India in this Sino-Indian war.
1967 – India emerged as victorious in Nathu la – Cho la clashes and safeguarded Sikkim.
1975 – Four Indian “Assam Rifles” soldiers in an ambush by the Chinese Army.
2020 – Twenty Indian soldiers and Forty-three Chinese soldiers died in Galwan Valley faceoff.
Did you know?
A part of Ladakh called “Aksai Chin” has been under the control of China since 1962.
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