Rajnath says cannot guarantee full resolution of Chinese intrusions - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 18 July 2020

Rajnath says cannot guarantee full resolution of Chinese intrusions

India's defence minister signals that PLA might not pull back from Indian territory, India would respond forcefully

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 18th July 20

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on a two-day visit to Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir, is the first senior leader to signal that China might not agree to fully resolve the crisis in Ladakh and that, in that event, India would not hesitate to use force.

Addressing soldiers at Luking, on the shore of the scenic Pangong Tso lake that is at the centre of the on-going Sino-Indian crisis, Rajnath Singh warned: "Based on the progress of (Sino-Indian) talks so far, the situation should be resolved. But, to what extent it will be resolved, I cannot guarantee. However, I can assure you that no power on earth can touch, or capture, even an inch of Indian territory."

In an unvarnished warning to China, the defence minister went on: “We want peace, not conflict. It is in our character not to hurt the self-esteem of any other country. But, if anyone attempts to hurt India’s self-esteem, we will on no account tolerate it and will respond forcefully.”

Amplifying the defence minister’s warning was the location where it was delivered: Lukung is just 40 kilometres from Finger 4, where Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed violently in early May and continue facing off.

Before his visit, Rajnath tweeted that he would be “visiting the forward areas to review the situation at the borders and also interact with the armed forces personnel deployed in the region.”

Rajnath Singh is visiting at a time when there is limited progress on disengaging Indian and Chinese troops in three of the five areas where tension has run high after People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops crossed the traditional Line of Actual Control (LAC) that has existed since the ceasefire of 1962.

This follows a 14-hour meeting on Tuesday, in which senior Indian and Chinese military commanders discussed troop disengagement in the Galwan River valley (at Patrolling Point 14, or PP-14), the Hot Spring-Gogra sector (PP-15 and 17A) and the Pangong Tso lake (Finger 4).

The only sector where disengagement is complete is in the Galwan valley. As Business Standard reported on July 9 (Withdrawal from Galwan Valley puts Indian troops further from LAC) the terms of disengagement have shifted the LAC here by one kilometre into Indian territory, benefiting China. The traditional LAC, which ran along PP-14, now effectively runs through the Y-Nullah Junction.

There has also been some disengagement this week in the Hot Spring-Gogra areas. Near PP-15, many of the 1,000 PLA troops that had intruded 3-4 kilometres across the LAC have disengaged and withdrawn, leaving a smaller number about one kilometre inside Indian-claimed territory.

At PP-17A too, many of the 1,500 Chinese soldiers who had intruded across the LAC have now withdrawn, but several hundred still remain a kilometre or so inside Indian-claimed territory.

In the Pangong Tso lake north bank, most of the Indian and Chinese soldiers who had confronted each other at Finger 4 have now disengaged. The Chinese have pulled back to Finger 5, while Indian soldiers have pulled back to the so-called Dhan Singh Post, which is located between Fingers 3 and 2. The Indians are now more than 10 kilometres from Finger 8, which they patrolled till April, and have vacated the Indo-Tibetan Border Police administrative base near Finger 3.

Meanwhile, some of the Chinese troops that had built bunkers in the Green Tops area – the commanding heights north of the Pangong Tso – are thinning out.

However, in the Depsang sector to the north, there is no disengagement from the positions the PLA intruded into, 16-18 kilometres on the Indian side of the LAC. In this sector, Indian troops can no longer reach five patrolling points on the LAC – PP 10, 11, 11A, 12 and 13. The Chinese have flatly refused to discuss a pull back from Depsang in all four senior commanders’ meetings held so far.

Also unchanged is the heavy Chinese troop build-up on its side of the LAC. The army estimates there are 3,000-4,000 PLA soldiers across the LAC at Depsang, 3,000 opposite Galwan, 1,000 each opposite PP-15 and PP-17A, about 3,000 at Khurnak Fort, some 4,000 opposite the Pangong lake and another 4,000 opposite Demchok and Fukche. That adds up to about five PLA brigade groups.

Besides the pressure from the Indian troop build-up, military planners assess that the Chinese are now more open to disengaging and pulling back because they have succeeded in building a “no-man’s land” inside territory that had so far been under Indian control.

Current disengagement status

Patrolling Point (PP)
Territorial loss
PLA troops across LAC

PPs 10, 11, 11A, 12, 13
No disengagement
16-18 kilometres
PP 14
1 kilometre
Hot Spring
PP 15, 16, 17
1-3 kilometres
Pangong Tso
Finger 8
10 kilometres
No intrusion


  1. Well researched article but being Ex-Army personnel expected about our strategy,it seems PTI news not blog

  2. Sir your preceding article says Let Indian Army Prove its Worth but this subsequent article is about surrender without a fight. Loss of land as per the aforementioned table is pointing towards total collapse of political and military leadership

  3. Scylla & Charybdis18 July 2020 at 21:17

    " What cannot be helped has to be endured"
    More efforts are required to scale up to 69" from 58"

  4. Do what the Pakis do, Indian BAT teams and regular shelling and push those Uighur terrorists across.

    And for christ sake open a full embassy in Taiwan and denounce the one china policy. Get some balls India!


  5. Wait for 2022, for resolution of these Intrusions. Make no hurry, while dealing with the PLA. They very well understand the meaning of "Force". We need to build up our capabilities. Let us pretend that we believe in "negotiations" with Communist China, till then. We can be patient and resolve this matter by taking suitable actions in 2022. Strategic Compulsions dictate we do not jump the gun till then, to reduce our casualties and "surprise" the Chinese.

    1. And whats so water-shed about the 2022 time-line? 🤔💭

  6. Your commentary points about hughe teritorial loss, but which otherwise remains hushed up. Request to initiate a movement so that Government accepts your reported information.

  7. "... However, I can assure you that no power on earth can touch, or capture, even an inch of Indian territory." - In my judgement, this is just empty rhetoric of Rajnath for the consumption of gullible domestic audience. I do not think India is going to challenge militarily Chinese grabbing Indian territory. That is why India has gone for disengagement instead of pushing PLA out. So much for the "two-front" war.


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