THE STAGE SETTING
India and China have been neighbours for decades now. Just like Nepal, a peace treaty called ‘Panchsheel’ was signed between Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai (first Public Premier of the Republic of China) on 15th May 1954 kicking off a healthy relationship between the two South Asian arch-nemesis.
The conflict started to unroll from the year 1959 when Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the Republic of China, wished to overpower Indian territory in Ladakh, which was scattered over 40,000 sq km along with the Northeast Frontier Agency which is known to be Arunachal Pradesh now.
Afterward, disruption started erupting around the Mc Mohan line as China refused to adhere to it. The excuse stated by China was that it was excluded as a signatory during the peace pact, which was signed between British India and Tibet in the year 1914. After that, conflicts on Aksai China and Arunachal Pradesh’s ownership started brewing furiously, which led to a war in the year 1962.
Consequently, 722 Indian and 1,338 Chinese lives were lost. After that China-backed off 20 km from the line of actual control (LAC) after unilaterally violating the ceasefire. After that, in the year 1967, defenses of both the countries again clashed at Nathu La and an estimated 80 Indian and 400 Chinese soldiers lost their lives.
The next decade marked a diplomatic relationship between the two rivalries. Then again, China kept condemning some of the major developmental projects in India like the first nuclear test in Pokhran that took place in 1974. The process of Sikkim getting merged into India also did not appeal to the neighbour. In 1975, it barged in the borders of Arunachal Pradesh and killed four Assam rifles jawan. In ’76, proper diplomatic ties were established.
Then starting with it’s non- compliance again, it opposed the transformation of Arunachal Pradesh into a state. The then PM Rajeev Gandhi had visited China and signed a pact that dealt with economic, trade, and smooth border channeling and other mutually doable, cooperative aspects.
The signing of BPT- Border Peace and Tranquility by the heads of both the nations in 1993 was a huge step. Even after doing so, China kept showing it’s outrage towards India in some or the other way. The new century then witnessed milestone ‘friendly’ endeavors along with reopening of the Nathula pass after 45 years for trade purposes between Tibet and Sikkim.
After that, since 2013, China started showing its assertive behavior by infiltrating the domestic borders time and again. In 2014, China entered 2 km beyond LAC in the Chumar sector. 2017 witnessed border standoff of troops over road construction in Doklam, after months, the forces were removed. India had declined to join the BRI, had done enough diplomatic consultations, but nothing was of use.
WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING SINCE MAY?
Now, when the world has been a victim of COVID-19 since December 2019, and the globe knows that China is solely responsible for the outbreak of the virus, it took India by scrutiny for backing 62 nations’ cooperative efforts to investigate the Chinese lies it has been telling the world for so many months now.
While India is facing torture of swarms of locusts and trying to find out why so many earthquakes are happening, the Chinese started creating a ruckus on the border since 5th May when the two sides clashed at the Pangong lake. Areas of Galwan valley, Pangong lake, Demchok, and Daulat Beg Oldi in eastern Ladakh along LAC, both the countries deployed troops to get hold of the situation.
China has been opposing Indian construction work in the area including Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galway Valley. After that, diplomatic and officer level talks were conducted from both sides. Week after week, these talks were carried out between the defense’s top-rank officials, but the result was nil. Incidents were reported at four different locations along the LAC in the past month.
Suddenly, a piece of news flashed that 20 Indian soldiers were killed in combat on 15th June after a tense standoff of 40 days; Col B Santosh Babu along with Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha were killed, and 17 soldiers lost their lives succumbing to their own injuries at sub-zero temperature.
Reportedly, 43 Chinese troops had also been killed in the Galwan valley area. Soldiers were also involved in hand to hand combat. The clash continued for hours. This is the first time that military personnel has died in border clashes since 1975 after 4 Assam rifles jawan were killed in Arunachal Pradesh.
These fatalities have been a consequence of what has been happening at the border since 5th May and continued through 9th May and further. The rage escalated after China tried to move in troops and equipment to stop construction being done by India in order to improve the infrastructure there at once.
FUTURE COURSE OF ACTION
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the CDS and the chief of all the three forces dropping hints of a fierce retaliation. An all-party meet has been scheduled for19th June. Meanwhile, the situation at the border is expected to be under control as all forms of communication have been cut from the disputed area.
PM Modi has stated that this martyrdom of the brave soldiers won’t go in vain. Something will be surely done as we wanted peace, but we know how to retaliate as and when required.