Disengagement of troops from conflicted regions by India and China after the recent Indo-China face-off at the LAC has strengthened the hope for a peaceful conclusion. But India must be cautious as history of 1962 Indo-Sino war tells us that China hit back right in 3 months after withdrawal.
Crux of the Matter
On 30th June, India and China engaged in Lt General level discussion, with both sides agreeing to consider disengagement as the “top priority”. The talks were succeeded by a dialogue between Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor, and the Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi, which facilitated the initial phase of the disengagement.
Chinese disengagement has been completed at Patrolling Point (PP) 17 (Hot Springs), PP-14, PP-15 Galwan and PP 17A Gogra. The troops are also “thinning out” in the Pangong Tso or Lake, with the Chinese contingent moving back from finger 4 to finger 5 of the lake.
Cautioned By History
In 1962, India fortified the Galwan valley and deployed Gorkhas at the place. On 6 July, 1962, Chinese troops spotted the Gorkhas and encircled the place within 4 days. On 15 July, 1962, Indian media lauded the 200 metres withdrawal of the Chinese troops from the conflict site.
Unfortunately, the Indo-China war started on 20 Oct, 1962, just 96 days after the headlines lauding Chinese withdrawal came.
Proceeding With Care
The lethal face off of 15th June was preceded by disengagement only. Experts have claimed that the disengagement would be a long process, and that India cannot afford to “lower its guard” at any point as China can “reverse” its decisions according to the situations. In the meantime, Indian Army has completed building a key bridge over the Galwan river, as per sources
- The term, Line of Actual Control, was first used by Zhou Enlai in a 1959 letter to Jawaharlal Nehru. It refers to the line of control in the western sector of the borderland between the Indian union territory of Ladakh and Chinese Tibet Autonomous Region.
- The Sino-Indian War was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A Chinese disputed Himalayan border was the main cause of the war. There had been a series of violent border skirmishes between the two countries after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama.
- Lieutenant Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat. He was an administrator in the British Raj and served twice as Chief Commissioner of Balochistan. McMahon is best known for the McMahon Line between Tibet and India.
- News 18 – A 1962 News Report & Cautionary Tale: Why Indian Army is Wary of China’s Current ‘Disengagement’
- The Indian Express – Disengagement process: Why Army is cautious, will verify each step on the ground before taking next
- Times Now – LAC standoff: Chinese disengagement at PP 15 now complete as PLA troops retreat
- NDTV – In Round 2 Of Ajit Doval’s Talks With China, Steps After Ladakh Pullback