Skip to main content

Galwan valley imbroglio: What is behind the standoff between India and China?

By Shabir Ahmad*
What is behind the Ladakh standoff along the India-China borders? India was carrying on some construction activity along its side of line of actual control in the Galwan valley, as there was no real dispute on the area. After all, it was for long considered part of Indian territory.
However, for the first time in more than four-and-a-half decades, China began claiming the Galwan valley as its territory. It all began with “Global Times”, referred to as the mouthpiece of the Chinese government, claiming that the Galwan was “always” a part of China.
When the Indian side was constructing roads, the Chinese side began interfering, infiltrating into the line of actual control, and entered the Galwan valley. India constructing roads and other installations on its side of line of actual is said to have infuriated China, leading to the Chinese army crossing the line of actual control and entered the Galwan valley.
Following the tensions that ensued, the two sides decides to deescalate. The deescalation meant that China would withdraw from the Galwan valley. But China also wanted India also to withdraw from the Galwan, which India said belongs to it – which is where the ambiguity arose.
No one knows whether the both the sides withdrew from Galwan. What one knows is that there was standoff at night amidst the de-escalation process. Tents were attacked and burned, resulting in fist fights, leading to the reported death of 20 Indian army personnel and 43 Chinese army personnel.
There have also been reports – though uncofirmed – that during the fist fight some of the armymen from both the sides fell into the icy water of Galwan river. So, the number of casualties were possibly much higher – which is what makes the current escalation as one of the deadliest, requiring resolution.
China is expanding not only its territorial claims, it is also trying to expand its influence militarily and economically on the region. The aggressive position of China in the South China Sea, the dispute with Japan, rising tension between China and US, with India moving closer to the US, and events like Howdy Modi and Namaste Trump – all together have generated a lot of mistrust in the Chinese mind. In fact, The Chinese authorities have begun viewing India as a proxy of US in the neighbourhood.
Amidst these developments, US has struck a deal with the Taliban on Afghanistan – considered a huge victory for Pakistan. After all, ├Čt was Pakistan which brought Taliban on the negotiating table with US. India was found missing from the entire episode.
Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan have all begun posing serious diplomatic challenge to Govt of India
Then, Nepal has begun claiming some areas which India considers its part. A new, amended Nepal has been approved by its Parliament. Some of Indian territories such as Kala Pani are shown as as part of Nepal. And Bangladesh, which was once considered to be a shining example of India's diplomacy, is upset with India because of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Thus, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan have all begun posing serious diplomatic challenge to the Government of India. Surely, things have got further complicate following the standoff between India and China.
Meanwhile, the “Foreign Policy” magazine has noticed an interesting twist in the India-China standoff by stating that the Government of India's actions on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) by diluting Article 370, reorganizing the state of J&K into two Union territories, has given an “opening” to China to interfere.
According to this interpretation, J&K became an Indian state after the Constituent Assembly of J&K gave gave its own constitution in 1956-57, unambiguously stating that it is an integral part of India as it existed on August 15, 1947. However, on August 5-6, 2019 the Government of India discarded the J&K Constitution, which had made the entire territory of J&K as an integral part of India.
This allegedly gave China an open hand to interfere in J&K. According to some experts, this change would embolden China to come to the negotiating table, stating that, since there is no state of J&K, whose constitution has been abolished, there cannot be any territorial definition of the state of J&K either.
Things may have got complicate following Home Minister Amit Shah's statement in Parliament while moving the resolutions on Article 370, that the entire region of Aksai Chin (Aksai Chin is considered as part of Ladakh by India, but China considers it as part of their autonomous region called Zing Zang province) is also an Indian territory. This is also said to have infuriated the Chinese authorities.
In this complex situation, it is more appropriate that, instead of lieutenant generals of both sides talking, Foreign Minister-level dialogue should be initiated, which alone can go a long way in de-escalate the tension.
---
*Freelance writer from Raiyar Doodhpathri, J&K, writes regularly on current affairs, IAS aspirant

Comments

Anonymous said…
very informative.
Unknown said…
An article that is very relevant in the current scenario of standoff at Ladakh, as well as India's current relation with its neighbouring country

Pravin Patel.

TRENDING

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

'Bird, take me flying with you too!' Being Devangana Kalita

By Ashley Tellis*  I first met Devangana Kalita in a first year English Honours classroom in which I entered to teach Charles Dickens’ Hard Times in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 2008. She was one of the smartest students in the class – Devangana smiled the most and had the brightest twinkle in her eyes of the girls in the class. A middle class girl – Kalita comes from a family in upper Assam, the Kalitas along with the Brahmins dominate Assam (the Bamon-Kolita nexus as it is called) – in an elite all women’s institution known for a feminist, rebellious history. Like all institutions, it was repressive; like all all-women institutions, particularly so. But Miranda House had met its match in Devangana. She organised, protested, all within the democratic tradition resisted. The seeds of Pinjra Tod, the group Devangana was to eventually co-found, and which now finds her jailed for as absurd a reason as inciting a ‘riot’ were already sown in that first year. By the third year, they

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.

Ahmedabad slum dwellers lathicharged: Demand for basic amenities for settlements

By Our Representative  Ahmedabad police allegedly used brute force to break up an assembly of migrant workers demanding decent housing. Hundreds of workers had gathered before the district collector’s office, Ahmedabad, to submit a memorandum to the district collector demanding that their settlement be enumerated as slums and basic services like light and drinking water be provided.