The situation along Line of Actual Control in Ladakh has assumed increasing gravity over the past month. There has been a stand-,off between Indian Army and the Chinese military after the latter allegedly made an ingress at three points. The two countries have been engaged in dialogue at a diplomatic and military level but so far there has been no breakthrough. Meanwhile, the Indian Army and the Chinese military are moving in heavy equipment and weaponry including artillery and combat vehicles to their rear bases close to the contentious areas in Ladakh. The Indian Army is also moving in additional troops to match up to the Chinese build-up. Similarly the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been keeping a strict aerial surveillance along the LAC. India wants status quo restored in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and the other areas.
Though Indian Army has objected to the ingress by the Chinese troops and sought their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace in the area, the PLA has stood its ground. The Chinese Army has strengthened their presence in Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie too, considered strategically important areas.
The stand-off at Ladakh between the two countries comes after crisis at Doklam in 2017. It started when the Chinese were trying to construct a road in the area, and Indian troops, on behalf of Bhutan, objected to it. Doklam is located close to the Siliguri Corridor, which connects mainland India with its north-eastern region and hence assumes a huge strategic value for India. However Doklam was resolved diplomatically through talks between the two countries.
There’s hope that Ladakh deadlock may also come to an end like Doklam. There are some signals pointing to this end. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that the overall situation on its border with India was ‘stable and controllable’. The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian said that the two sides can resolve the issue through dialogue and consultations. Speaking earlier, Defence minister Rajnath Singh that India will not allow India’s pride to be hurt. He said India’s effort was to ensure that the tension does not escalate.
However, it is far from certain that the two countries will be able to address the current crisis. And this can only happen should China withdraw to its pre-stand-off LAC. There are efforts at diplomatic level to urge China to go back. So far China has been unwilling to do so. But there’s too much at stake for both the countries to let the situation escalate. Here’s hoping that like Doklam China will eventually step back and agree to a negotiated solution.
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