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Sunday, January 17, 2021

India-China gunfight after 45 years: Here’s the complete story in 6 points

So, as it was expected, the situation along the LAC is getting intense by the day. As of now, there is no end in sight of this conflict as two Asian giants, India and China are taking potshots at each other. Shots have been fired along the LAC for the first time in 45 years. So in this article, we shall look at all the aspects regarding the ongoing Indo-China border skirmishes. It apparently started in early May with the Chinese army intruding into the Indian side. Massive violent stand-off then took place between the two nations in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died. So what is the latest development? Are you heading for another Kargil-like war? Find all the details here.

Here’s the latest on the Indo-China ongoing conflicts described in 6 points

1. What is the latest development from the LAC?

According to a report, rubbishing Beijing’s allegation that Indian troops fired shots at a Chinese patrol, the Indian Army have said that it was the PLA troops who fired a few rounds in the air while trying to “close in” on an Indian forward position along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. This is the first instance since 1975 when shots have been fired along the LAC — 45 years ago, an Assam Rifles patrol was ambushed by the Chinese in Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh. Army sources told The Indian Express that Indian troops at Mukpari, one of the heights they occupied a week ago in the Chushul sector, foiled a Chinese attempt to reach the hilltop on Monday evening.

2. What did the Chinese PLA claim?

This is as usual a reply from the Chinese. Days after the Indian Army thwarted Chinese attempts of intrusion and occupied strategic heights on the south bank of Pangong Tso and Rechin La near Rezang La, the south bank of the lake appeared to be heated again late Monday night with the Chinese army claiming that Indian Army personnel had fired warning shots, prompting it to “take countermeasures to stabilize the situation on the ground”. The Chinese army even issued a statement and said the Indian Army crossed the line and entered Bangong Hunan, the western section of the Sino-Indian border and the “Indian actions seriously violated the relevant pacts and agreements, pushing up regional tensions, and easily causing misunderstandings and misjudgments”.

3. What did the Indian Army say?

In a statement, the Indian Army rejected Chinese allegations and said its troops did not open fire or cross the LAC. “At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to using aggressive means, including firing,” the Army statement said. According to a report, the Indian Army claimed that while India is “committed to disengagement and de-escalating the situation on the LAC, China keeps on undertaking provocative measures to escalate the situation. The Army accused the PLA of blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress, a report said. According to an Army officer, since the August 29-30 Indian operation, the Chinese have been making “almost daily attempts” to try and reach the same heights.

India-China gunfight
Indian Army personnel at the LAC on Tuesday. Photo: ANI

4. What about the diplomatic talks?

India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said he is convinced that a solution for the ongoing border conflict between India and China would only be found through the domain of diplomacy. “We (India and China) have a history, which is very good in some parts, indifferent in parts and difficult in parts. The difficult parts are more recent,” said Jaishankar in a report. The minister said he was not underplaying the seriousness of the situation and whatever happens at the border will impact the relationship between the two countries.

“I am totally convinced that a solution to the situation has to be found in the domain of diplomacy. And I say that with responsibility,” he said in a report. Jishankar would speak to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow on Thursday. Jaishankar said the two had known each other for a long time, so they could have a “reasonable chat”. We too hope a solution comes out from the diplomatic talks only.

5. Are we heading towards another Kargil-like war?

It is too early to say so. According to a report, the assessment at the highest levels of India’s security establishment is clear. The threshold of war hasn’t been reached yet. “It is difficult to predict the trajectory of the face-off, but we haven’t reached the threshold of war. Things do build up to a full-blown conflict, but so far there have been only pinpricks. The Chinese deployment right now is non-tactical,” a top government source said to Network 18. So how will the situation be in the next few months? A report predicts, there will be minor escalations like the one on August 29-30 when the Chinese army tried to occupy Indian heights at the South bank of Pangong Lake. There is also complete clarity that the face-off and what direction it takes is not being controlled by local commanders or by the Western Theater Command, but by the top leadership in China.

6. What is this buzz around India’s Hypersonic missiles?

The buzz around India’s Hypersonic missile testing amid this Indo-China conflict is quite important and meaningful. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday successfully test-fired the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV). This test made India the fourth country in the world after the US, China and Russia to develop such technology. This development will pave the way for Indian missiles that can travel at six times the speed of sound and India will reportedly make its first hypersonic missile in the next five years.

According to a report, “HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight. Hypersonic flight means a speed greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5). Apart from being used as a vehicle for hypersonic and long-range cruise missiles, the HSTDV is a dual-use technology that will have multiple civilian applications, including the launch of small satellites at low cost.” Now we are yet to know the Centre’s real objective of having this futuristic missile tested amid the conflict with China, but this definitely shows India’s muscle flexing. Defence minister Rajnath Singh said the HSTDV used the indigenously developed scramjet propulsion system, which is an improvement over the Ramjet engines which work efficiently at supersonic speeds of around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).

We hope these conflicts pacify because if things like these continue, it will cause devastation to the world. We are really looking forward to the diplomatic talks between India foreign minister and his Chinese counterpart in Moscow today.

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