Rajat Sharma

China must act on what it has promised

akb0809In my show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, for the first time, I showed ground visuals of our troops deployed near the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh. Out of 3,488 kilometre long LAC between India and China, Arunachal Pradesh alone accounts for 1,080 kilometres. Most of the Tibetan plateau can be seen from LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. At some points, Indian jawans and Chinese soldiers have even close eyeball contact and can speak to each other.
China has been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as “Southern Tibet” since the Fifties and has, till now, refused to accept this full-fledged state as Indian territory. Television viewers in India have so far seen the LAC on their screens mostly from Ladakh in the western sector, and they have rarely seen visuals from the eastern sector in Arunachal Pradesh, where both the armies are guarding the LAC. India TV reporter Anupam Mishra along with cameraperson Sujit Das took ground visuals from as near as 200 metres where Indian jawans and Chinese soldiers have been deployed facing each other.
The Indian army has deployed nearly 50,000 troops in Arunachal Pradesh sector with almost 5,000 Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel also stationed to guard the LAC. These jawans are trained to guard our frontiers at high altitudes and can survive in cold winter. Indian Air Force has deployed Rafale, Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000 and MiG-29 aircraft which are regularly carrying out sorties. China has also deployed a sizable number of troops.
Our reporter and cameraperson reached the last point of LAC from where the mountain peaks and hilly terrain under Chinese control can be clearly seen. Heavy artillery guns and other strategic assets have been deployed along with additional troops in this sector and there is constant movement of troops on the Indian side.
Due to operational and tactical reasons, we cannot share the minute details of the strategic assets here. Our armed forces are on full alert and the supply lines are active. Our troops are preparing for a long haul during snowfall this winter. Weather is the biggest enemy here and during winter, the very act of survival in the face of snowfall and landslides is a tough task. In daytime, the minimum temperature is minus 10 deg C and at night it drops to minus 20 deg C. Our jawans are keeping a hawk’s eye from mountain heights on Chinese troop movements.
In the midst of tension across the LAC, the Chinese leadership is constantly sending out mixed signals. On Monday night, air raid sirens were sounded in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, by Chinese army. Clearly, the PLA is trying to test waters by sounding false air raid sirens. The Chinese are also trying to test the reaction time of our armed forces, but the Indian army is not going to fall in their trap by over-reacting. Rafale jet fighters carried out sorties near the LAC in Ladakh on Wednesday to the delight of Indians watching the aircraft.
Though India and China have agreed not to make further deployment of troops in forward areas, there is still no clarity on whether China will reduce its 50,000-strong troops in Tibet adjoining Ladakh sector. There is no information about whether China will reduce its deployment of jet fighters, artillery guns, tanks and other heavy weapons in forward areas. Overall, there has been no change in the attitude and intent of Chinese army generals despite President Xi Jinping claiming in the UN that his country neither wants a Cold War, nor a hot war.
Indian army intelligence is keeping a close watch on Chinese troops and strategic assets deployment. Till now, there has been no reduction in troops or weapons by China near the LAC. On the contrary, troops and weapon deployment is being increased at some points. India has clearly told China to reduce its troop deployment and withdraw its tanks, artillery pieces and jet fighter from forward areas. This must be verifiable. Once the reduction in deployment is verified, one can look forward to reduction in tension on India-China border. Otherwise, the standoff will continue. It is now up to China whether it wants to ‘walk the talk’.

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