The Indian Parliament in resolutions adopted in 1962 and 1994 had reiterated that Aksai Chin and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) were an integral part of India. But practically India had accepted the LOC as the de facto border with Pakistan and was reconciled to the loss of Aksai Chin to China.
But statements made last year by Home Minister Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and now the Chief of Defence Services General Bipin Rawat indicated a strategic shift. They all reiterated the resolve to wrest back POK and Aksai Chin. The Home Minister was unambiguous in parliament, the day after abrogating Article 370.
The statements put both Pakistan and China on notice, statements which experts said were not matched by India’s military capabilities. Others questioned the priority. But the die was cast.
China officially released a video clip on the day military level talks between an Indian Lt. General and a Chinese Major General wee going on in Ladakh. It was broadcast on state broadcaster CCTV the same day.
The clip showed thousands of paratroopers, armoured vehicles and equipment being deployed to the border with India in Ladakh. The clip claimed that the deployment took barely a few hours. Significantly, the soldiers and vehicles were transported from Hubei, the province in central China where the coronavirus COVID-19 had spread late last year.
A report in South China Morning Post quoted experts as saying that the clip was meant to send out the signal that the pandemic had done nothing to cripple China’s military ability, that the People’s Liberation Army(PLA) was fully prepared.
Strategic Affairs and military affairs expert Ajai Shukla tweeted after the inconclusive dialogue: China has changed the frontlines in Ladakh, and occupied Indian territory... and New Delhi is talking about “a long haul” and “military and diplomatic engagement!” If so abject was to be the surrender, disband the “mountain strike corps” & remove armoured brigade from Ladakh.
To cover up this craven surrender to Chinese aggression in Ladakh, govt has the nerve to ask journalists not to cover, or write on, the ongoing “dialogue”. This is to allow public opinion to normalise the new situation... which is that China has come in and will not leave!! The writing is on the wall. While the govt continues its smoke and mirrors game of “military and diplomatic dialogue”, China will consolidate and make the new border permanent. At least in 1962 army fought a war and made China pay a cost. This time, it’s an abject surrender.
Who’s to blame? The govt that pursued a misguided diplomacy of “informal summits” with China? Or the army, which, despite steadily rising manpower numbers was taken by surprise, just as in Kargil? Or “anti-national” journalists who exposes this debacle? Answer: Obviously No3.