Political Fallout Of Galwan: Past And Present

Galwan Valley

With a past of muddled dealings, the events of Galwan valley in Ladakh between India and China have elicited various reactions from people home and abroad.

Crux of the Matter

Indian Govt Says
Ministers from the Indian Govt expressed views on the recent incident where 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in a clash with the Chinese army.

I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain. India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if instigated.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India

Pain of losing our brave soldiers while protecting our motherland at Galwan Valley can’t be put in words. Nation salutes our immortal heroes who sacrificed their lives to keep the Indian territory safe.

Amit Shah, Home Minister, India

Our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, India

Opposition Questions
Sonia Gandhi, the President of Indian National Congress, raised questions regarding the territorial occupation and the soldiers’ casualties to PM Modi.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also questioned the PM. In his tweet he asked:

“How dare China kill our UNARMED soldiers? Why were our soldiers sent UNARMED to martyrdom?”

Replying to Rahul Gandhi, the Minister of External Affairs Dr. S Jaishankar clarified how Indian troops are always armed outside posts but observed ceasefire.

India – Who Said What?
Prominent personalities of India expressed different opinions on the issue, with some questioning the government while others expressing contempt at the actions of China.

Our army has changed the political map of the world. I will always salute the valour of the army.

Maoj Kumar Jha, MP, RJD

This is a National Humiliation… [The PM] must speak up.

Manish Tewari, MP, Congress

The time has come to take Aksai Chin back.

Jamyang Tsering, MP, BJP

For every one of ours, kill 5 of theirs.

Captain Amarinder Singh, CM of Punjab, Congress

Foreign Ministries

Sovereignty of the Galwan Valley area has always belonged to China and the Indian border troops seriously violated Chinese border protocols.

Chinese Foreign Ministry

A violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there.

Indian Foreign Ministry

Earlier History Of Aksai Chin
Aksai Chin is a disputed territory located at the northernmost extreme of Ladakh. It is currently administered by China while India claims it a part of its own. While Ladakh was an independent state before 1834, it was annexed by Dogra Raja Gulab Singh. In 1841, the Tibetan army was defeated and the treaty of Chushul was signed. In 1844-45, Ladakh was lost to British rule after the Anglo-Sikh war.

Changes After 1962 War
In 1954, PM Nehru demanded a clear demarcation of Ladakh. The situation deteriorated in 1957 as a road connecting Aksai Chin to Xinjiang was constructed by China, which had annexed Tibet. In 1962, a war was fought between India and China over the issue of Ladakh, the asylum for Dalai Lama and several other disputes. After the war, Aksai Chin fell under the control of China.

Hindi Chini Bhai-Bhai Or Bye-Bye?

  • 1950s: India went with the slogan of “Hindi Chini Bhai-Bhai” while China sustained its aggression on the borders covertly.
  • 1953: PM Nehru rejected a permanent seat at the UN Security Council and offered it to China instead.
  • Nehru downplayed the Chinese aggression in Ladakh, saying, “There is a large area in eastern and north-eastern Ladakh which is practically uninhabited… where not even a blade of grass grows“.
  • Nehru and the Defence Minister V K Menon publically snubbed General Thimayya as he warned of an imminent Chinese attack. Thimayya eventually resigned in 1959 in protest.
  • The Galwan River is named after Ghulam Rasool Galwan, a Ladakhi explorer of Kashmiri descent, who first explored the course of the river. This is one of the rare instances where a major geographical feature is named after a native explorer.
  • William Johnson, a civil servant with the Survey of India proposed the “Johnson Line” in 1865, which put Aksai Chin in Kashmir. The Line is one of three boundary lines considered by the British Indian government, the other two being the Macartney – MacDonald Line and a line along the Karakoram range.
  • Xinjiang, officially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country. It is the largest province-level division of China and the 8th largest country subdivision in the world. China claims that Aksai Chin is part of Xinjiang.