Rajat Sharma

Arunachal clash: Indian army will always give a befitting reply to intruders

AKB30 The 30-month-long military confrontation between India and China escalated on December 9, when more than 300 Chinese PLA troops intruded across the Line of Actual Control in Yangtse near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, and attacked the Indian jawans who tried to prevent them. At lest six injured Indian jawans were evacuated to the base military hospital in Guwahati for treatment, while a large number of Chinese troops were also injured, army sources said.

In his statement in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “On December 9 in Yangtse area of Tawang sector, PLA troops intruded and attempted to change the status quo. This attempt was tackled by our jawans in a determined manner. Our jawans bravely stopped the PLA from encroaching upon our territory and force them to retreat to their post.”

Rajnath Singh said, “In this face-off, few soldiers on both sides suffered injuries. I would like to tell this House that none of our soldiers died or suffered any serious injury. Due to the timely intervention of Indian military commanders, PLA soldiers have retreated to their own locations. .The Chinese side was asked to refrain from such actions and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. The matter has also been taken up with China through diplomatic channels. I want to assure the House that our forces are committed to guard our borders and ready to thwart any attempt that will be made to challenge it.”

In a nutshell, our army has given a befitting reply to the Chinese troops who were up to a big mischief in Thang La, at a height of 17,000 feet near the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. There are reports that at least 20 Chinese soldiers were injured in the clash. The intention of the Chinese side was to build some structures inside our territory, and that plan has been foiled. At a flag meeting on December 11, the Indian commander told his Chinese counterpart in strong words that such actions will not be tolerated.

This was the second big clash between Indian and Chinese troops at the LAC since 2020, when 20 Indian army jawans including Col. Santhosh Babu were martyred in Galwan Valley, Ladakh, and a large number of Chinese troops along with their senior officer were killed. Since then, there has been a strong build-up of army and air force on both sides in the Ladakh region.

Several senior retired army officers have said that such Chinese intrusions are part of a well-planned conspiracy, because the Line of Actual Control in Tawang sector is clearly defined, and there should be no differing perceptions about the line. Retd. Major Gen Dhruv Katoch said that the Chinese troops and their officers must now be having a fair idea about how Indian army can respond if such intrusions take place. Another retired army officer said that the Indian army holds dominant positions at a fairly top height in Yangtse and there must be no reasons to worry.

Since the time news broke about the clash in Tawang on Monday evening, opposition leaders, mainly from Congress, have been demanding an open debate on the prevailing situation in LAC, despite requests from the Chair that the matter is sensitive and clarifications are not allowed on such issues, keeping past precedents in mind.

On Monday night, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala alleged: “For over two years, China has been illegally occupying Indian territory. We demand that the Prime Minister should come to Parliament and explain about the exact ground situation since Indian territory has been illegally occupied by Chinese PLA at different points on LAC.”

It seems Congress has not learnt from past mistakes. On Monday night, the Indian Army in a statement clearly said that not a single Chinese soldiers managed to step inside Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, and yet the Congress is raising doubts. Surjewala went to the extent of claiming that Chinese soldiers have almost reached till ‘Chicken’s Neck’ on LAC. This is an outright insult to our brave army.

The understanding between Indian and Chinese troops since the agreement signed in Nineties is that both sides will maintain a proper distance from the LAC, and will not attack the other with weapons, nor will any shot be fired. Because of this Peace and Tranquillity Agreement, whenever tension erupts, the two sides engage in fisticuffs and pushing each other. At heights of 17,000 feet, and that too, with the onset on winter, a mere push can be deadly. There is no doubt, this latest clash has caused a setback to the dialogue that has been going on between both countries in recent months.

But let me be emphatic. The Indian Army is in no way in a weaker position on the Line of Actual Control, compared to that of China, whether in the number of troops deployed, or weapons, support systems, transportation and all other attack or reconnaissance systems. Indian Army is fully equipped to guard our borders, and it can give an equal fight to the Chinese.

India is a peace-loving nation. It has never attacked any of its neighbours first. However, whenever the enemy tried to intrude into our borders, our brave jawans have come out with flying colours by giving a befitting reply. Pakistan has already tasted it several times in the past.

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