Due to the ongoing India China border standoff, the Indian Army is on high alert and from the last few days, continuous clashes have been recorded between the Indian Army and the Chinese Army (PLA). This has led to a lot of confusion and people have been asking what is going on in Ladakh. That is why this Guarding India Exclusive will be covering the current situation of the Ladakh Standoff in great detail.
Please watch this Guarding India video for knowing how china is preparing for war in Ladakh or continue reading our detailed report.
As we have already covered in our previous articles the India China border dispute has continued since May 2020 when Chinese soldiers intruded into the Finger area of Pangong Tso Lake. The tension between the two nations increased after Galwan incident of 15 Jun 2020. In Galwan, Chinese Army soldiers armed with nail-studded bats, iron rods, and sticks ambushed unarmed Indian Army soldiers in which Colonel Santosh Babu and 20 brave soldiers of 16 Bihar Regiment were martyred. As per the latest reports of American media, during Galwan attack brave soldiers of the Indian Army befittingly responded to the Chinese Army attack and killed around 60 Chinese soldiers.
After Galwan attack, on multiple occasions, diplomatic and military level talks were held between the two nations which failed to resolve the border standoff as the Chinese Army has refused to vacate finger area of Pangong Tso lake. At last, on 29-30 Aug 2020, the Indian Army carried out a preemptive strike on LAC and captured all important peaks in Thakung, Spanggur Ridge which is also called Kailash Range and goes from Pangong Tso to Rechin La or Reqin Pass. After this victory of the Indian Army, targeting the Chushul sector has become near impossible for the Chinese Army.
However, the Chinese Army and CPC leadership is annoyed with this victory of the Indian Army and the latest satellite images have revealed that the Chinese Army has significantly increased its presence in the finger area of the Pangong Tso and Moldo area near Spanggur Gap. During the entire Ladakh standoff, the Chinese Army has been continuously constructing new posts and living shelters near the finger area of Pangong Tso.
As per the Chinese media reports, after the 29-30 Aug 2020 strike of the Indian Army, China has dispatched a considerable amount of its powerful military equipment to Tibet. These new equipment include H-6 bombers carrying CJ-20 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles with a 2000-kilometer range which have already been deployed in Tibet. Additionally, the Chinese Air force has also dispatched Su-30 MKK fighter jets and Y-20 transport aircraft to Tibet. Chinese Army has rushed in Type 99 Main Battle tanks which are the most powerful Chinese tanks, Type -15 Light tanks which are specially designed for fighting in high altitude region, ZBD-04 or Type 04 Infantry fighting vehicles, and the latest wheeled artillery guns to Tibet. As per reports, the Chinese Army has sent additional Air Defense, Infantry, and special forces units to LAC. Additionally, China has moved its 71 Group Army consisting of 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers from Jiangsu province of eastern China to Gobi Desert in northwest China from where the 71 Group Army can be easily moved into the Aksai Chin area.
During the entire Ladakh standoff, for increasing its operational efficiency, Western Theater Command of the Chinese Army has conducted combined arms brigade strike exercises in Tibet and has continuously released videos of these exercises as a propaganda tool. As per the estimates of Team Guarding India, the Chinese Army has deployed more than 50,000 PLA soldiers in the Aksai Chin area. As per media reports, on the Chinese side of LAC, the Chinese Army has been continuously carrying out tank firings whose blasts can be clearly heard by Indian army troops.
On 07 September 2020, the Chinese Army attempted another Galwan like an attack on the Indian Army in the Shenpao area near Thakung which was foiled by alert troops of the Indian Army. We covered this victory of the Indian Army in this Guarding India article. As per the official statement of the Government of India, Chinese soldiers fired at the Indian Army post and when Chinese Army plans could not succeed then China blamed the Indian Army for firing which was completely baseless and false.
After the failed attack of 07 September 2020, once again on 08 September 2020, the Chinese Army sent around 40-50 PLA soldiers equipped with bladed weapons and rifles for capturing the Mukhpari post of the Indian Army which is near Rezang La pass which was widely covered in Indian as well as global media reports. However, once again the Indian Army foiled this attack of the Chinese Army.
After this, on 11 September 2020, the Foreign Minister of India Mr. S. Jaishankar, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a bilateral interaction in Moscow. Due to the ongoing border dispute between the two countries, this meeting was considered extremely important. During this meeting of foreign ministers, India asked China why the Chinese Army has deployed so many soldiers in the Aksai Chin area? As per the Indian Government, the Chinese Foreign Minister failed to give a satisfactory reply to this question.
Foreign Minister Mr. S. Jaishankar clearly told the Chinese Foreign Minister that the Chinese Army deploying too many soldiers in the border areas is against the 1993 and 1996 border agreements. And it is due to this deployment of the Chinese Army, so many LAC clashes are happening between two nations. In this meeting, both India and China accepted that both countries shall recall their armies from LAC at the earliest. However, both nations have different opinions on how this disengagement of troops will be achieved. Indian side asked China that the Chinese Army should vacate Finger area of Pangong Tso lake which has been illegally occupied since May 2020 and thereafter both nations will gradually reduce their forces which will be verified step by step. However, the Chinese Foreign Minister did not accept this demand as the Chinese Army is not ready to vacate the Finger area of Pangong Tso lake.
Not only this, but China also demanded that the Indian Army should immediately vacate all its new positions which were occupied on the night of 29-30 Aug 2020. Responding to this demand of China, Foreign Minister Mr. S. Jaishankar told that the Indian Army has not crossed LAC and Chinese claims are wrong. In the end, both foreign ministers agreed on a Five Point Formula for ending the Ladakh standoff. But how much the Chinese Army will respect this Five Point Formula on LAC, will only be known in the future.
However, on 12 September 2020, it was clear that this meeting of foreign ministers did not have much impact as on 12 September 2020, the Chinese Army sent more soldiers, tanks, and artillery guns in the Spanggur area near Chushul. These PLA soldiers included Chinese Militia Squads which is an irregular army consisting of boxers, martial artists, and mountaineers. In other words, Chinese Militia Squads can be called the goon army of the Communist Party of China and the deployment of the Chinese Militia Squad on LAC might lead to more attacks like Galwan.
On 13 September 2020, Indian Army troops observed Chinese soldiers laying Optical Fiber Cable on southern banks of Pangong Tso. Just to amplify, Optical Fiber Cable or OFC is used to provide high-speed secure communication to the military. OFC cables are laid only on permanent posts due to their excessive costs and technical difficulties in maintenance. Thus, if the Chinese Army is laying OFC cables in the Pangong Tso area it implies that the Chinese Army is not going to vacate the finger area of Pangong Tso lake till a long time in the future.
On 15 and 17 September 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated in Parliament that Indian Defence Forces are fully prepared to face any Chinese attack, and “no power in the world can prevent Indian soldiers from patrolling our borders”. This statement rattled Chinese leadership and China responded by saying China is ready for both “War and Peace”.
If we keep diplomatic posturing aside, the situation at LAC is unprecedented as both sides have mirrored the deployment of opposing force which has resulted in around 1,00,000 Soldiers locked in the eyeball to eyeball conflict that may flare up at any point. The Chinese for sure have met more than their match in the new proactive policy of the Indian Army and at present are preparing for war while pretending to talk peace. The present standoff must be resolved before harsh Ladakhi winters arrive in a month. However, presently it seems that the Chinese Army is preparing for a long haul and possibly a short war that may come within the next one month as after winters prevail Indian Army will be at a distinct advantage due to its extensive mountain warfare experience owing to continued deployments at Siachen Glacier.
Therefore, for preventing any PLA attack in Chushul and Finger area, the Indian Army has been on high alert. Indian Army has ordered its ground commanders and troops that under no condition Chinese soldiers should be allowed to cross the Indian Army defensive line on Kailash Ridge. To face the threat of 50,000 Chinese soldiers, additional Indian troops have been moved from Jammu based 16 Corps. As of now, Indian Army T-90 tanks and M-777 lightweight artillery guns are deployed in the Chushul sector and are ready to repel any Chinese Army attack. Sukhoi -30 MKI, MiG-29 UPG, and Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters of the Indian Air Force have been conducting day and night sorties for preventing any intrusion by the Chinese Air Force.
Finally, Team Guarding India hopes that the Ladakh standoff is amicably resolved by peaceful dialogue. And until this dispute is resolved, the Indian Army will remain on high alert to ward off any Chinese Army attack.