After changing Galwan claim line thrice, PLA now claims entire valley - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 25 May 2020

After changing Galwan claim line thrice, PLA now claims entire valley

The Darbuk valley, from where the road to Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) takes off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 26th May 20

In June 2017, Indian soldiers in Sikkim took Chinese border guards completely by surprise when they crossed into Bhutan and physically blocked Chinese road construction crew from extending a track into disputed territory. 

Eventually, hundreds of Indian soldiers stood face-to-face with as many Chinese for over two months before New Delhi and Beijing negotiated a mutual withdrawal that saved face for the Chinese.

Today, it is the Indians who have been taken by surprise. In the third week of April, Indian border forces in Ladakh observed regular Chinese forces on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de factor border – being supplemented with additional troops, heavy trucks and equipment. The Indian side mistakenly assessed this was just routine summer training. 

There was shock on May 5, when some 5,000 Chinese troops crossed into the Galwan River valley, followed by another incursion in similar numbers into the Pangong Lake sector on May 12. Simultaneously, there were smaller incursions near Demchok, in Southern Ladakh and in Naku La in North Sikkim.

Currently, government sources assess there are close to 10,000 soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Indian territory. Dialogue is frozen, with the Chinese rebuffing Indian calls for flag meetings to resolve the situation.

The most worrying situation is in the Galwan valley, where the PLA has crossed China’s own claim line (which Beijing had stated was the border with India), and breached 3-4 kilometres into Indian territory. PLA troops are digging defences to equip themselves to face any Indian attack.

A China defence website with close links to the PLA has claimed that the entire Galwan River valley is a part of China.

Stating that: “The Indian side crossed the line in the Galwan valley... and unilaterally change the status of the border, the website claimed: “ The Galwan valley is a Chinese territory, and the local control situation is very clear.”

This follows a previous pattern. China had systematically eroded Galwan’s status starting 1956, followed by an official claim in 1960 and then by military action during the 1962 war.

The border at Galwan River was first enunciated by China in a map published in 1956 and endorsed by Zhou Enlai in 1959. In that, China claimed a boundary that started east of the Karakoram Pass and ran southeastwards, cutting through the Galwan River valley to Khurnak Fort. From there it ran south, through the centre of the Pangong Lake, passing through the eastern extremity of the Spanggur Lake and then, further south to Demchok.

In 1960, when Zhou Enlai led an official delegation for talks to New Delhi, China advanced a new border that claimed an additional 5,180 square kilometres of Indian territory in Ladakh. Running generally west of the 1956 claim line, it ran close to the eastern bank of the Shyok River, cutting the Galwan River close to its confluence with the Shyok – west of the earlier claim. 

Further south, it claimed more of the Pangong Lake, all of the Spanggur Lake and then ran approximately along the 1956 claim line to Demchok.

During the 1962 war, Chinese troops captured the Galwan valley post, killing some 36 Indian soldiers. After the war, China advanced its claim line even further west, claiming an additional 2,000 square kilometres of Ladakh.

Now, even this claim line has been violated and China is attempting to push the frontier at Galwan further west.

Four days after the Galwan intrusion, China’s second intrusion began on May 9 in Naku La, in northern Sikkim, also across a settled Sikkim-Tibet border. Some 200 Chinese soldiers temporarily occupied Indian territory, but have now withdrawn to the Chinese side and have pitched up tents.

In the third intrusion, which took place near the Pangong Lake on May 12/13th, thousands of Chinese soldiers occupied disputed territory between Finger 8 and Finger 4. By May 18, the Chinese had taken over the so-called Finger Heights. 

While this intrusion is not into territory that Beijing has previously recognized as Indian, there is now – for the first time – a Chinese flag flying on the hill features overlooking the lake. India’s so-called Dhan Singh Post, which was built after the 1962 war, is the last Indian post standing in that sector.

The Indian army has been slow to react. Indian troops have deployed in the vicinity of the PLA incursions, but there are no attempts to outflank Chinese positions. In addition one-to-two Indian brigades have begun moving into the area over the last 2-3 days.


  1. Stop spewing rubbish like a jackass for a change! 10,000 PLA in the Galwan Valley? Lol! Did you go there and count them? Sensationalism at its best And where did you get this gem about China claiming the entire Galwan Valley? Did Chinese PLA Gen TsuChi Ping confide this in you? You're a joke!

    1. Hello jackass. Read the article properly, colonel said 5k in Galwan, 10k total in Indian territory. Chaddis are a joke.

    2. Hey Chaddi Moron,

      Check with your Pitashri, he's handed Galwan and Finger 4-8 on a platter.

      So aliens came and killed 20 Indian soldiers, ab kya naya story banayega Feku?

  2. I know some of your information is incorrect.Please do check before sounding scary.

  3. You have brought out the issue effectively and we need to act decisively to stop Chinese misadventures.

    China is even stroking Nepal to open third front against us.

  4. Can you attribute your sources properly.

    Which is this "A China defence website with close links to the PLA"?

    What is the URL of "“The Indian side crossed the line in the Galwan valley... and unilaterally change the status of the border, the website claimed: “ The Galwan valley is a Chinese territory, and the local control situation is very clear.”"

  5. You are back to politicking days.
    No one from OSINT or govt is speaking of this kind of numbers.
    The comment that army is slow to react is unwarranted.
    Please report, not cook up.

  6. Though due diligence is sin qua non for for an appropriate and effective action but delay in the same is like diving ones own grave. Act not react should be the mantra.

  7. So a tank driver has become disloyal to the org which allows u to write suffix Col,possibly undeservingly.

  8. Good media has been stunned in silence by aggressive China approch

  9. Broadsword I am sure you ignored the idiotic comment at 26May at 10:17
    You (in my opinion) are right the build up at Gulwan could be 5000 judging by the tents in various clusters from satellite imagery.
    These troops have spent some time getting acclimatised.
    Less known is that India has previously stationed a high altitude armoured brigade in the DBO area, this is a serious provocation, including the increasing aviation of the Indian Air Force during the past three years in the skies above DBO. This and the newly built infrastructure is a threat to the Chinese highway in Akshai Chin.
    The whole of the Gulwan valley is claimed because India has built the ‘new’ road to DBO, the Western theatre commander General Zhao Zongqi, a soldier who previously has commanded the high altitude mountain 85th Special Operation Brigade (特战第85旅) some units of it could now be in the Gulwan valley, in a seminar Zongqi has said that Zauo En Lai should not have ceded DBO to India and the border of Akshai Chin should have been have been the Zenge Zangbu (Indus river) from Demchok right down to - and including the Leh valley.
    In case of a full blown war the Chinese might settle the border as the Indus River.

  10. Can the flag fluttering in the breeze not be seen ?
    Are you an UundaBhakt ?

  11. As a follow up to my previous comment General Zongqi plan of creating the new border LAC , at the Indus River might come to fruition if India blocks the river water flow into Pakistan and reneges on the water treaty.
    Modi has boasted to this in his speeches to the RSS/BJP that he would not hesitate to stop the water.
    If this happens Pakistan facing an existential event will 100% start a war, if China supports its ally the new border will be the Indus River serving a dual purpose, protects the Akshai Chin and this new border also prevents India from blocking the flow of the Indus.

  12. Even if 50% of it is correct and actual thats what matters and things must be looked at and acted upon with great care. Lets not ahoot the messanger. Whats imp is that we concentrate on the problem. Colonel Ajai shukla is a very respectable, learned instructor level honored soldier of the indian army before being a journalist. He ia best suited to bring out the truth and clarity on this situation. We are surely all on the same side of the table. Jai hind.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Ajai is perhaps only writer left for Military related accurate reporting in India. Other security uncles are hiding in their closets. And the uninformed and uneducated supporters of dear leader are just trolling and spewing non-sense here and everywhere. We should be thankful for such reporting which is in the interest of India.

  15. You are a biased Sinophilic person in the grab of an analyst an imposter.

  16. Why India is spending money on these troops when they cannot even differ between an attack or am exercise?

  17. I don't think it to be correct report. I have authentic information and India is active as per its tactical,strategic and political guidelines. Such biased reporting specially by an Indian reporter needs to be verified.

  18. Sir, your views are a total hogwash....Being a tank man you have never seen these areas....been twice there... including as Grade One Int....our boys are giving it back in an admirable way...please don't peddle falsehood... situation is tense but not what you describe it to be

  19. Man. Stop it. Fear mongering on national defense issues. At least verify before publishing

  20. Chinese incursion is a matter of concern. Mr. Ajai Shukla is doing service to motherland by reporting the truth. Lets face it. If we don't acknowledge the incursion we cannot repel it. Right??
    China is a very very strong opponent. PMO silence is testimony of PLA might. To India's good fortune we have a technocrat heading foreign ministry. DIPLOMACY is the key. There is no point antagonizing strong neighbor else embarrassment is all we get.

  21. Very comprehensive, informative and connected article. Waiting for next one....

  22. Ajai, please highlight the fact that we have just division, 3 Div which has to cover from ladakh to uttarakhand which I think is grossly inadequte. of course we have 6 time more number to cover the other side at LOC. despite these events our armed forces are all obsessed with LOC and this covers IAF and IN as well, always the western commands are the sword arm.
    but please stop your yellow journalism! there will be no war....

  23. guys,
    if you want to disagree or contradict someone,have the courtesy to post opposing facts with valid links and reasoning. just dont blindly abuse

  24. I don't understand y Indian soldiers r always late to react...........always hear that after Chinese incursion Indians hv reacted...... Some time India need to incurse above lac

  25. NSR says ---

    I am a space and defense scientist...
    I have been writing for two decades about lack of Indian surveillance and radar&opticaal imaging systems, and air and missile defense systems...

    Instead, India has been concentrating so much on manned space, free launches for other countries or entities, etc

    They should put a full stop these activities and concentrate like Israel on space and drone surveillance, radar & optical imaging to get real-time intelligence ...

    Too sad to see no one minding the priorities of India...
    I hope CDS will take it up on itself to hurry up with solutions...

  26. The language of this anonymous is derogatory and disrespectful to the borders. China changes border claims often. Akshai chin is theirs. Galwan Valley is theirs. Arunachal is theirs. Doklam should be in their control. Samdurangchu Valley is theirs. One day they claim nagapur is theirs.Tibet is looking like a war torn colony. They just improved saga military colony leaving residents to dogs, just because it is nearer to India.

  27. Ajai,

    This is from 2013. I know they withdrew Did India get ALL OF THE 640 sq km OCCUPIED ever back?

    Playbook is similar though bigger.

    Praveen Swami, Shiv Aroor and your name were on some of the articles.

  28. little whiny spineless congressi stooge (posing as journo) is happy about this he will go with pappu to meet chinese ambassador like he did during dokhlam

  29. How they allow pla in our territory,I think govt is not telling the actual situation.what type of country we r.what is the use to make nuclear bomb.india should show heavy agression otherwise govt as well as army also come to new delhi and no need of security forces when they r not able to save our territory.

  30. Any comments. It is known Indian defence was the weakest during 2004-2014 period.
    It is also true investment in border infrastructure increased vastly after 2014.

  31. I never thought our Indian Army would be so weak in front of the Chinese. This is sad !

  32. Indian deployment, as explained by Rohit Vats and which I can confirm, before the crisis: one brigade plus 1 tank regt DBO (moved up from Darbuk), 114 CHushul (not the actual village, but its easier to find Chushul), 1 bde near Demchok, 1 armd bde with XIV Corps (1 regt DBO, I regt further south); 1 ind inf bde corps reserve, 1 bde Thoise under XIV Corps - not available; Himachal 1 div, UK one div and two independent bdes. Two divisions in reserve.

    It has taken GOI almost 20-years to build up.

    Issue is not troops. Today we have plenty. Issue is will, of which GOI has zero.

    This abuse of Ajai, who tries his best to get authentic infor (in this case from Indian Army) is absolutely unacceptable. CHina may have deployed 10,000 troops opposite DBO, in Galwan Valley, and other places, but please be assured they now have the infrastructure to bring in several more brigades from Western Theatre command. Last I know - this is not updated, they had four divisions in WTC and have just added (Prasun Sengupta) an air assault brigade. I'm not going to give more details because after seing GOI foul its underwear for 60 years, I have ZERO interest.

    And if GOI thinks we can meet Pakistan and China on 1.5% of GDP on defense - well, all I can say is GOI belongs in a mental institution. We should be spending $100 billion/year excluding pensions. Dont want to do it? Simple solution: give POK to Pakistan officially, give Aksai Chin and the Ladakh range to China, withdraw all troops from the entire northern border,. And wait for the Chinese to claim even more.

    Sorry to rant, but I am very angry at the abusive posts and I am glad some people at least have defended Ajai.

  33. @Col Ajai Shula
    Many who do not even have the courage to declare their identity folow a 5 step process
    1. Shoot the messenger
    2. On providing data to support the stated position "Question the authencity of data"
    3. When proof of authencity is provided then " during adverse time show solidarity with govt" even if it amounts to misrepresentation of facts and remain in a state of denial
    4. If one persist with one's stand, level charges of treason and call the person traitor
    5. Inspite of all these if one persists
    Then use the brahmastra: "all these damages India's image and nothing against the nation will be tolerated" as if only this people are custodian of patriotism
    Reading most of the anonymous column, I feel we are at step 3. Step 4 & 5 are yet to come
    These anonymous experts do not have an answer as to how India will force China to retreat

  34. foreign Ministry:- India's Foreign Ministry has made it clear that we do not accept the charge that India is unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we are maintaining this position, China has questioned the construction work of India, then India replied that all our construction work is entirely in our area. We hope that China maintains its dignity and does not take any inflammatory steps

  35. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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