‘If LAC not marked soon, build-up like on LoC likely,’ Says ex-Army chief Gen V P Malik

New Delhi/June,5 :If the Line of Actual Control isn’t delineated soon, it will remain vulnerable to face-offs and India and China may end up deploying more troops there, just like it is on the LoC with Pakistan, Gen (retd) V P Malik who was Chief of Army staff when the Kargil intrusion took place in 1999. In an interview to “Indian Express” Gen Malik, who led the Army in the successful eviction of Pak troops, said that an aggressive China, besides nibbling at Ladakh, could also attempt to take control of Karakoram Pass and the area between it and Shaksgam Valley ceded to it by Pakistan.
When India abrogated Article 370 and created Union Territories of J & K and Ladakh, China called it “unacceptable.” Development of infrastructure along the Northern border, including the road from Pithoragarh to Lipulekh Pass, indicates India’s strategic intent to provide greater security to its territories. These activities by India close to LAC/India-China border could be part of the reasons for the current aggressive posturing. Another reason could be Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ losing credibility within and outside China post-Covid and his need to divert attention.PLA violations of LAC in Galwan Valley and north of Pangong Tso are at the tactical level. With long gaps existing between posts held by our troops and inability to keep every bit of area under 24/7 surveillance, such tactical intrusions are always possible. Our troops, if ordered, can also do that.However, when these intrusions are viewed along with other recent incident at Naku La and Chinese strategic behaviour vis a vis India and nexus with Pakistan, these tactical incidents need to be viewed strategically.Any intrusion across the LAC and then trying to defend the area involved would be “‘occupation.” My impression is that north of Pangong Tso, PLA troops have occupied “disputed area” between Finger 4 and 8 where both sides were patrolling till recently. In Galwan valley, they have taken up positions along the track from Shyok River to the LAC thus denying our patrols the ability to move up to the LAC.
An aggressive China, besides nibbling at Ladakh territory, could attempt to take control of Karakoram Pass and the area between Karakoram Pass and Shaksgam Valley ceded to it by Pakistan. That would (a) ensure greater security to Aksai Chin already under its occupation (b) link western Tibet with Shaksgam Valley, and (c) make Siachen Glacier vulnerable to Pakistan-China nexus.Three decades of talks, including 22 sessions at the level of Special Representatives, have not succeeded in making China agree to the delineation of LAC on maps pending final boundary solution.There is not even an agreed perception of “disputed areas.” Until the LAC and disputed areas are delineated, we shall continue to see accidental or deliberate face-offs…Since 1993, India and China have signed five agreements and protocols on military-level confidence-building measures along the LAC. But the alarming number of recent incidents indicates that the mechanisms are no longer effective. If the LAC and “disputed areas” are not delineated soon, India and China may end up deploying much larger forces along the LAC — like what we have on the LoC with Pakistan.Resolution of this military engagement can only be return to status quo, pre- May 2020.As per reports, India and China are working to resolve the issue. Neither side seems interested in escalating the situation.

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