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.
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

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

Astonishing? Violating its own policy, Barclays 'refinanced' Adani Group's $8 billion bonds

By Rajiv Shah  A new report released by two global NGOs, BankTrack and the Toxic Bonds Network, has claimed to have come up with “a disquieting truth”: that Barclays, a financial heavyweight with a “controversial” track record, is deeply entrenched in a “disturbing” alliance with “the Indian conglomerate and coal miner Adani Group.”

Junk food push causing severe public health crisis of obesity, diabetes in India: Report

By Rajiv Shah  A new report , “The Junk Push: Rising Consumption of Ultra-processed foods in India- Policy, Politics and Reality”, public health experts, consumers groups, lawyers, youth and patient groups, has called upon the Government of India to check the soaring consumption of High Fat Sugar or Salt (HFSS) foods or ultra-processed foods (UPF), popularly called junk food.

Modi govt intimidating US citizens critical of abuses in India: NY Christian group to Biden

Counterview Desk  the New York Council of Churches for its release of an open letter calling on the Biden administration to “speak out forcefully” against rising Hindu extremist violence targeting Christians and other minorities in India. In the letter addressed to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other major elected officials, the NY Council of Churches expressed "grave concern regarding escalating anti-Christian violence" throughout India, particularly in Manipur, where predominantly Christian Kuki-Zo tribals have faced hundreds of violent attacks on their villages, churches, and homes at the hands of predominantly Hindu Meitei mobs.

Link India's 'deteriorating' religious conditions with trade relations: US policymakers told

By Our Representative  Commissioners on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) raised concerns about the “sophisticated, systematic persecution” of religious minorities by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a hearing on India in Washington DC.

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

MS Swaminathan Counterview Desk In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers. Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’. Pointing ou

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

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.

Jharkhand: Attempt to create red scare for 'brutal crackdown', increase loot of resources

Counterview Desk  The civil rights group Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization in a statement on plans to crackdown on “64 democratic progressive organisations” in Jharkhand under the pretext of the need to investigate their Maoist link, has alleged that this an attempt to suppress dissent against corporate loot and create an authoritarian state.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual.