Rajat Sharma

It is a typical Chinese ploy: China is trying to divert world attention from COVID

AKB2610In one of the bloodiest clashes near the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh on Monday night, 19 Indian army jawans and a Colonel of Bihar Regiment gave their supreme sacrifice. Blood was spilled on LAC after a long gap of 45 years, when Chinese troops, while retreating in Galwan Valley, suddenly attacked our officers and jawans with iron rods, nail spiked lathis and stones.

It goes to the credit of our valiant officers and jawans that they promptly retaliated resulting in 43 Chinese casualties. Not a single shot was fired. The nation salutes Col. B. Santosh Babu for giving the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the nation. We also salute all the martyred jawans who died while fighting this pitched battle that began at dusk and ended around midnight.

Talks between India and China are presently going on at several levels, but this worst clash raises questions about China’s ulterior motives. The overall picture since April this year in Ladakh has been one of deception and audacious treachery on part of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

First, their troops carried out multiple incursions at several points in Ladakh bringing in heavy artillery and erecting concrete structures, then their senior army officers in prolonged talks with Indian counterparts agreed to disengagement, and at dusk, their troops, while retreating, suddenly attacked our Commanding Officer and his jawans. This blatantly exposes the nefarious designs of the Chinese army.

Here are the details about the clash. Chinese troops were supposed to retreat from Patrolling Point 14 (PP14) on Monday, consequent to agreement at the Corps Commander level meeting on June 6. The Chinese troops were supposed to retreat five kilometres into their area. Everything was going on as planned, under the watchful eyes of our 16 Bihar Regiment commanding officer. While retreating, all of a sudden, the Chinese commander provoked his troops to act. Their troops used iron rods, spiked sticks and stone boulders to attack our jawans. This hand-to-hand combat went on till midnight when both the troops disengaged. A large number of soldiers from both sides were injured.

By Monday night, the casualty on Indian side went up to twenty, while there were 43 Chinese casualties, according to our army sources. The Chinese have not yet revealed their casualty figures.

I spoke to several senior army officers. They said, India should be prepared to counter any misadventure on part of the Chinese across the entire LAC, as they cannot be trusted. The Chinese are piqued over India constructing the strategic 255-kilometre Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road that connects the eastern part to Siachen glacier in northern Ladakh, all within Indian territory.

Building this road on a tough terrain was really challenging and it took 20 years to complete. From India’s strategic point of view, this road is very crucial and can provide the Indian army access to China’s Xinjiang highway. Seven years ago, the Indian Air Force had flown C-130 J Super Hercules transport aircraft to Dault Beg Oldie airstrip.

Since then China has been making preparations. It started amassing its troops at Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley and tried to carry out incursions on May 5 in Naku La on Sikkim border. It brought in troops in army trucks camouflaged as garbage trucks. At the Pangong lake, the Indian and Chinese troops came face to face, but in Galwan Valley the stand-off continued. China had, by that time, amassed nearly 10,000 troops, and India had made up its mind to pay the Chinese back in their own coin. There was mirror deployment of Indian troops to face the Chinese.

After diplomatic and commander level talks, the Chinese withdrew nearly two and a half km from Patrol Points14, 15 and 17, and under a disengagement plan, the Chinese were supposed to retreat further. At last, they cowardly attacked our Colonel and army jawans while retreating.

Can China be trusted now? It has been dabbling in treachery since many years. This has been part of its history, and India needs to be on full alert. Our Prime Minister, Defence Minister are keeping a watchful eye of army’s preparedness under supervision of Chief of Defence Staff and tri-service chiefs, our External Affairs Ministry has been informing other world powers about Chinese incursions and movements.

These are on expected lines, but I firmly believe that the tension on LAC will soon die down and peace will prevail. We should hope so, and we expect the Chinese troops will retreat to their positions peacefully. And yet, there are nagging doubts in our minds: is this all a drama? Why is China doing so? Is China enacting a drama?

I can venture to answer these questions. It is no more a secret that the Chinese spread the deadly Coronavirus across the globe. The entire world now knows that China not only spread the virus, but also concealed facts from the world and it manipulated the World Health Organization. Had China alerted the world about the virus, the international community could have taken preventive measures in time and the lives of several hundred thousand people could have been saved.

China then supplied low quality masks PPE kits and testing kits to the world. Nations across the world, from USA to UK, France, Germany, Israel, Spain and Italy, are unhappy with China. One may ask what this has to do with the tension on the LAC.

I feel, the time has come for the world to teach China a lesson. Economic and diplomatic retaliations matter more than territorial incursions. Many countries have started blocking trade with China and Chinese goods are being boycotted. The Chinese leadership is worried and wants to divert world attention. The easiest way for China was to raise tension level on the Indian border.

I agree with strategic experts when they say that fomenting tension on LAC is a typical Chinese ploy, nothing more, nothing less. China cannot sustain tension on LAC for long, it only wants to give an impression to the world that its might hasn’t diminished.

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