Sunday, January 29, 2023

PLA’s futile attempt

The great Himalayan range detaches India from the Tibet plateau. In 1959, Tibet rose up in revolt against the Chinese occupation. Dalai Lama’s escape from Lhasa marks the starting of Tibetan struggle for independence.
It was Tawang, the Dalai Lama had first taken shelter after he escaped from Tibet and that led to Chinese misadventure at Ladakh and Arunachal. Tawang was the key point of the 1962 war.
After 1962 debacle, Indian Army enhances self-esteem at Nathu La 1967.
However, Beijing claims around 90,000 sq. km of Arunachal as South Tibet. Subsequently, China engaged constructing road and bridges at the frontier to systematically strengthen its military infrastructure like troop bunkers and helipads, gun and missile positions, communication land radar sites all along the 3488 km LAC stretching from eastern Ladakh to Arunachal.
To thwart Chinese imperialism, India has moved to the mountain building huge infrastructure plans to strengthen India against the powerful neighbour.
The stand-off near Doklam in 2017 opened up Chinese cobweb plan of fresh tangled territorial incursion.
PLA already established military HQs near the ‘no patrol buffer zone’ after the troop disengagement at Pangong Tso in 2021.
China stepped up deployment of drones and helicopters along the LAC across Arunachal in recent times, which led the IAF to scramble Sukhoi fighters as an air defence measure.
In October last year, too, a clash had broken out at a mountain pass between Bum-La and Yangtse when PLA soldiers tried to cross over to the Indian Territory.
There are many areas of differing perceptions about the border and both sides patrol the area up to their claimed lines.
Now it’s another scuffle at Yangtse in Tawang Sector after Galwan Valley face-off in 2020.
India just can’t ignore these harsh ground realities. Yangtse post (peak) is strategically located at 1500 ft close to the Mc-Mahon line.
This peak at 17000 ft has a huge advantage for the enemy to have a clear line of sight to the Sela Pass, which is about 75 km west of Tawang and is currently the only link to our forward posts.
Close to Mc Mohan line, a motorable road to Chumi Gyatse is the holy Buddhist site of 108 waterfalls.
Till no so long, Indian army would only patrol in the Yangtse area but now started staying at the post in harsh winter.
That surprised 300 plus PLA troops, who intruded armed with clubs and sticks apparently to gain access the foot peak Yangtse but Indian Army contested in a firm and resolute manner to PLA’s bid to unilaterally change the status quo forcing them to retreat.
China’s statement is their regular patrol on the Chinese side of LAC in Dongzhang area blocked by Indian army.
All of a sudden NE region is in the limelight with the realisation of this strategic significance.
The forgotten corner of India is gradually in the process of emerging gateway to East Asia due to its geographical proximity.
At the dawn of independence, NE has NEFA [Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh] part of Assam and two princely states of Manipur and Tripura. Later Sikkim becomes eight North-Eastern Regions.
NE region is geo-politically isolated by 20 km narrow route ‘Chicken neck’ of Siliguri corridor. China’s constructing road at Doklam is another undisputed Chinese philosophy of governance and warfare.
NE frontier still relies on helicopters. IAF is the only hope for this deceptive mountain.
India left this region untouched for long. The fear is that road would help Chinese descend into our territory.
Now India changed track gradually after China built largely on border-building to roads and townships at Tibetan plateau.
India have now shifted gear and accelerated work on strategic roads for troop movement, supplies and deployment of sophisticated weapons.
India must respond to Chinese establishment and military infrastructure in Lhasa and very near to east Arunachal by connecting new railway lines, roads and airports.
India must act otherwise China may impose arm-twist on the border on its terms.
Kamal Baruah

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