Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student.
India and China are two neighbouring nuclear and economic superpowers residing in the south of Asia. Although there have been no serious violent clashes in the last 3 decades on the LAC (Line of Actual Control) which is the de-facto border between Indian and Chinese territory since 1962, the world has now witnessed a disturbing conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers in The Galwan Valley at the LAC. Due to this strife, the lives of 20 Indian and over 40 Chinese soldiers including an Indian Colonel named Colonel Santosh Babu have been lost. India Today suggests that 10 of India’s soldiers which were captured with China have now been freed as a sign of goodwill after a 3-day ordeal. To understand this conflict better, let us first have a look into the history of disputes between India and China:
The historical tensions which have taken place between India and China.
There have been many historical tensions and conflicts between India and China. All these conflicts are relating to LAC. Some of them were:
- Sino-Indian War (1962)- About 1400 Indian and 725 (approx.) Chinese soldiers were killed.
- Natu La conflict (1967)- 80 Indian soldiers died and counted up to 400 Chinese casualties.
- The 1987 standoff at Arunachal Border (1987)- 20 Indian soldiers died, Chinese- unclear.
- Doklam (2017)- No casualties on both sides. (Sources: India times, Al Jazeera).
As seen above, there have been many disputes between India and China.
A New York Times report claims that India has been maintaining the fact that the LAC is the legal border between India and China like it has been since 1914 when the British signed a treaty with Tibet establishing what would be called the McMahon Line named after a British Colonel.
New York Times has also claimed that China never accepted this border and has always wanted more territory.
Let us now understand what happened on June 15th, 2020
In the mountainous region in the Galwan Valley at the LAC, 20 Indian soldiers including one Indian Colonel were killed by the Chinese troops in what the Indian Government claims to be a “premeditated” ambush by the PLA forces on Indian troops. The Guardian states that these killings in the mountainous region in Galwan Valley were sparked when a patrol of Indian soldiers encountered Chinese troops in a steep section of the mountainous region they believed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had retreated from. In the Indian territory of the LAC, India has recently upgraded its infrastructure and have built a road that leads straight to an Indian Airfield so that the Indians could transport troops over to the border. This conflict has partly been triggered due to the same. China wants to show strategic infrastructure and does not like the idea of Indian troops coming to the border directly by a road (source: ABC News).
The refusal of the Chinese to leave disputed areas, including the Galwan Valley inside Indian territory, has triggered a conflict in the area. It has led to stone-throwing and fistfights in border areas and On Monday, June 15th, it led to the death of 20 Indian and over 40 Chinese soldiers.
What might happen next
Although a war seems unlikely, due to many reasons which include the economic fallout for both countries as well as the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, tensions on the LAC border have started to rise. The Indian Government has put all three forces: Air force, Army and Navy on high alert (source: India Today). The Indian Prime-minister has warned China in a speech on 17th June of India giving it a “befitting reply” if necessary. BBC has recently revealed an image of one of the weapons which were used by the Chinese soldiers in this violent faceoff. This image shows nail-studded rods and the report also says that this weapon was used by Chinese troops in the face-off. India Today has suggested that the bodies of some of the deceased soldiers, among the 20 who were killed, were mutilated during the clash between Indian and Chinese armies. A war seems unlikely due to the socio-economic situations in both India and China, but if China doesn’t give up on its ‘Salaami Slicing’ policy towards India and the tensions flare-up at the LAC, then a higher-level conflict is bound to happen between the two countries (source: CNBC).
I personally believe that India has the most disciplined and best-armed forces in the world. I also believe that our country’s government and its army are working together in unity to handle the situation well. Remember the armed forces don’t go to war but the nation goes to war and the armed forces and the valiant men in them are the national instruments of war. Let’s honour our brave martyrs and do our bit for their families and next of kin as best as possible. We must also give our Government and our armed forces time to resolve the disputes and give them our wholehearted moral support.
Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student of Modern School
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