Chinese troops now stepping up activity opposite Arunachal Pradesh - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 29 June 2020

Chinese troops now stepping up activity opposite Arunachal Pradesh

The two sectors seeing the most PLA activity are Tawang and Walong - which bore the brunt of the Chinese offensive in 1962

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 30th June 20

With Chinese and Indian troops eyeball-to-eyeball at seven places inside India’s claimed territory in Ladakh and Sikkim, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has begun stepping up activity opposite Arunachal Pradesh as well.

Indian government sources say PLA troops here are reinforcing their posts in large numbers, increasing their patrolling and stepping up violations of the Indian border – which in Arunachal Pradesh runs along the McMahon Line.

The two sectors that are seeing the most PLA activity are Tawang and Walong – which both bore the brunt of the Chinese offensive in 1962.

In the Tawang area, PLA patrols have come right up to India’s Old Khinzemane post on two occasions, and accosted the Indian troops there. Khinzemane is right on the McMahon Line and was the point at which the Dalai Lama entered India after escaping from Lhasa in March 1959.

Khinzemane is located close to the Namka Chu river, where the Chinese launched the 1962 war with their first massed attacks on thinly-held Indian defences.

Also in the Tawang sector, the PLA has reinforced its base camp at Tsona Dzong, the main Tibetan border town located across the McMahon Line from Tawang.

In the Walong sector, which is at the easternmost tip of India, sources report aggressive activity from Chinese patrols at the Indian border post of Kibithoo. The PLA patrols, which have been coming right up to the border, are far more frequent and now include more than 40 soldiers in each – almost twice the number in normal times.

The PLA camp at Old Tatu, across the border from Kibithoo has also been heavily reinforced. There are also reports of heavy reinforcements being moved to Rima, the border town across the McMahon Line from Walong.

There is also aggressive Chinese activity in the Asaphila sector, which the Chinese attacked and captured in the 1962 war. Over preceding days, there have been multiple PLA incursions across the McMahon Line here, say sources. The Chinese have also established temporary camps, just across the border from the Kepang La and Sying La passes.

In the Upper Siang border district, where the Tsang Po river flows into India and becomes the Siang, and then the Brahmaputra, there have been a large number of border transgressions in recent days.

India’s military intelligence is assessing whether the PLA is reinforcing the sector to guard against the eventuality of an Indian attack, or whether the Chinese have plans to occupy Indian territory here as it did in Ladakh.

While there has been no occupation of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh yet, as there has in Ladakh, the army taking the Chinese activity seriously. In Ladakh, in April, the army misread PLA activity as routine training. It is determined not to make the same mistake in Arunachal Pradesh.

The seven areas in Ladakh that have Chinese troops squatting on Indian territory are: Bottleneck in the Depsang area; Jeevan Nullah, the Y-Nullah in the Galwan River valley; Patrolling Point (PP)-15 in Galwan; Gogra Heights at PP-17; Chushul and the north bank of Pangong Lake up to Finger 4.


  1. Very difficult for China to not fight and turn back now. Mistakes are expensive for Chinese leaders.

  2. We need to cancel the airforce tender and buy 30 more RAFALES off the shelf....the French defense ministry must provide us support

    16*2 rafale may not suffice in a 2 front war.

  3. Thanks you sir for making us informed

    This is the result of the Chinese making preparations to protect their territorial integrity. They are now in the process occupying the buffer zone from which they withdrew from in 1962. They will not longer tolerate Indian patrols coming into what they think is their territory.
    Chinese security concerns are towards Taiwan, its Western border with India is not a priority, it would like to enhance trade with India, but if rebuffed, so be it - there are all of India’s close neighbours who China will assist in growth.
    This is the time for pragmatic thinking, a strategic plan which has at its core the welfare of our poor and economic development. We must settle our border even if it means giving up territory we perceive as ours, and establish good relations with our superpower neighbour.
    It’s wistful thinking that Covid 19 has effected the Chinese thinking and is an explanation for Chinese belligerence. China is forecast to grow this year at a mere 1.5 % but India is expected to have negative growth of 5%.
    China relative to the USA is going to emerge economically much stronger after the virus crisis.
    While India is 20% of the Chinese GDP in ten years time India will is forecasted be only 15% of the GDP of China.
    Some media commentators are fond of repeating 1962 is not 2020 - meaning our country is much stronger now.
    That is an inaccurate assumption laced with RSS Jingoism, in 1962 both economies were almost equal in GDP.
    But the Gap has widened, not only in GDP terms but the Chinese armed forces have gone through a process of reorganisation and modernisation, in India we in large part still have a bloated WW2 Army.
    We cannot compete with the biggest kid in the block, our people are in poverty, with no healthcare, education or employment.
    China had a healthy and relatively educated labour force, which had enabled it to take advantage of the Deng Xiao Ping’s reforms and turn itself into the world’s manufacturing powerhouse.
    The population of India is mostly unhealthy, uneducated with very low productivity and therefore unemployable, we must get our priorities right the war preparations should not be against China but against fighting the poverty that afflicts our people.

    1. Are you a Chinese ?? The way you have written this is in exactly the same manner that CCP and its spokesperson speaks .

  5. make moves including those of no consequence, during negotiations agree to withdraw from these, continue to remain at those of consequence; full marks for being reasonable, yielding.
    probably there in arthashastra too. and of course in the seven classics of war and politics.

  6. If India's response be 'talks to disengage have been successful', this is bound to happen. You press one part of the balloon, only to see another part bulge. After they've got most of our army committed on ground, they'll be free to push the point of their choosing.Even if they don't, who'll take India seriously after this? We've decided to not follow through the sacrifice made by 106 soldiers at Galwan on night 15 Jun. The mission failed which is OK, as many missions fail. But to not follow through a sacrifice by 106 soldiers (dead, wounded, captured) is simply too dishonourable. 'Following it through' could mean either of these two options - clear offensive action at Galwan on same place, or sacking of the military men (brigade, div commanders etc) responsible for such bad planning, briefing and execution. Col Santosh Babu was sent there by them.He and his men suffered a fate much worse that those in 1962- for which there has been a lot of hue and cry. The men in 1962 got to defend themselves; these didn't due to express orders of their superiors. They were just killed and their sacrifice is now being thrown away.
    And please, no more of the now notorious 'We'll do it at the time and place of our choosing' game. That's just abandoning the lives and honour of 106 of India's fine soldiers.

  7. The battle for Arunachal totally depends on India's logistical capacity there, and the ability to rapidly reinforce any sector. I think in Arunachal, India should take the initiative and plan on capturing and holding Lhasa (and declare Tibetan independence). This is no simple task, and would require tremendous sacrifices, however there is no freedom without sacrifice. We need to impose unbearable cost on PLA in Arunachal, while preserving our forces for a counter-attack. Expect the unexpected.

  8. The question is not to know if China will occupy Arunachal Pradesh or not, the question is when. Some maps displayed on Chinese website show already the region a national territory.
    Where will their agressivity stop ?

  9. If the Chinese Plan to enter from here they must remeber they had to retrieve from there in 1962 impending Winter .Now we are more advanced than in 1962 1972 where we have a different Army capable of gorilla warfare also and I am sure they will know it as they use to patrol for beyond even in 70s.


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