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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.