PC : India Today

One year after the brave sacrifice of Col B Santosh Babu, and 20 other gallant soldiers, it’s time to reflect on what we can do to prevent the loss of lives of our brave soldiers.

What is the way forward?

The Indian Army must plan for a long term deployment as well as capabilities and capacities to respond to immediate situations in the region. Infrastructure to protect man and machine should be the priority as well as ensure turnover of troops to keep the morale high and fighting fit.

“The immediate interest within the region is of India vis-à-vis a Pakistan –Chinese collusion to negate any attempt by India to regain the disputed territory. It is best to wait for an opportune moment to resolve this amicably / till such time there is a credible military capability to regain lost territories.

India needs to plan and develop its comprehensive national power over the next few decades, for that consensus-building has to happen between the political parties to be on the same page with a long term view,” Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Veteran), tells Financial Express Online.

“The focus now should be on the threat at the Depsang Plains which threatens our lines of communication to the Siachin Glacier. India’s interest in Aksai Chin will remain as it was a disputed territory with Pakistan and now with the Karakoram Highway passing through the region, the Chinese have reasons to give it depth as it gives them access to the Arabian Sea,” he opines.

Why the Chinese intrusions?

Sharing his views, the Indian Army veteran says, “The CCP / PLA and those who are at the helm of affairs have been monitoring the developments politically as well as the development of infrastructure to support the deployment of the ITBP/ IA, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The statement by the political leadership on the floor of the parliament and subsequent visit by the Foreign Minister to Beijing to explain India’s point of view fell on deaf ears.”

“If we step back and re-visit the cause of the 1962 Indo-Sino conflict, one of the reasons was the disagreement on the defined LAC,” Lt Col Channan states.

Does that mean that we don’t take a stand?

We need to as we must protect our territory as a sovereign nation as does China in its perceived ownership of the disputed territory.

“In the past year, India has leased drones from the US and Israel, for surveillance as well as armed drones, the deployment remains confidential; one thing is for sure, it is not for show of force, but to employ when required,” he opines.

Finally, the diplomatic efforts need to continue at all levels whether at the level of the Corps Commanders or the Foreign Secretary / Ministerial level. It is well understood that kinetic use of force is for a limited period to convey a message, disputes are resolved by dialogue and are time-consuming.