Indo-China Tensions Boil Over UN Meeting

Indo-China Tensions Boil Over UN Meeting

India and China expressed mutual animosity at the latest UN meeting, with both sides receiving support from their respective allies.

Crux of the Matter

India Speaks Up For Hong Kong
At the latest United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, India supported Hong Kong against China and asked the latter to respect the fundamental rights of the HK citizens. In its statement, India asked China to “address the issues properly, seriously and objectively”.

Pakistan And China
On 29 June 2020, a terrorist attack occurred on the Karachi Stock Exchange. 10 casualties were reported, while the 4 terrorists were eliminated. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army. However, Pakistan PM Imran Khan claimed that the attack was facilitated by India.

China initiated the condemnation of the attacks in the UN Security Council. However, the process was delayed by extensions taken by Germany and US, reported as signs of support to India. Eventually, the UNSC condemned the attacks in Pakistan, but did not mention or blame India.

US Support On India’s Chinese App Ban
Recently, India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country. The step received support from the US, which stated that the move will enhance India’s “sovereignty and security”.

We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state. India’s Clean App approach will boost India’s sovereignty. It will also boost India’s integrity and national security, as the Indian Government itself has stated.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

  • The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was established on 11 January 2016 after the merger of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. PSX’s origins were laid with the establishment of the Karachi Stock Exchange in 1947, the Lahore Stock Exchange in 1970 and the Islamabad Stock Exchange in 1992.
  • The Republic of China used its Security Council veto only once, to stop the admission of the Mongolian People’s Republic to the United Nations in 1955 on the grounds it recognized all of Mongolia as part of China. Although as of June 2012, the People’s Republic of China had used its Security Council veto eight times.
  • United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was an international relief agency, largely dominated by the United States but representing 44 nations. Founded in 1943, it became part of the United Nations in 1945, and it largely shut down operations in 1947. The Republic Of China co-founded UNRRA.

From Indo-China Face-off To Weaponizing Trade

From Indo-China Face-off To Weaponizing Trade

After the recent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at LAC, both the countries now have engaged themselves in a trade war by blocking each other’s imports done via ports. India has tightened the scrutiny of the import from Chinese companies, but experts say the move might create a shortage of necessary raw materials.

Crux of the Matter

India’s Aggresive Stand
Bilateral border tensions have spilled over to trade. Now, Indian customs have begun physical inspection of all consignments coming from China based on intelligence inputs. Import consignments from China were halted on the Chennai and Mumbai ports. Moreover, Chinese cargo is being held up by customs at airports in Delhi and Kolkata.

Despite India’s dependence on China for raw material for the pharma, electronics, and automobile sector, there is speculation that India will continue these strict measures and tighten scrutiny of imports from Chinese companies located in Southeast Asian Nations. The Indian government may ask authorities and importers to be aware of shell companies linked to China that might be trying to benefit under the Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN.

There is no official word from the government on this matter. If India wants to be self-reliant then India will have to follow two strategies for self-reliance, i.e. boosting local manufacturing capacity and containing imports.

The automobile sector in India is likely to bear a heavy brunt as Indian companies like Bajaj Auto, Mahindra & Mahindra, TVS Motor Company, Hero Electric, and other Indian companies building electric 2 or 3 wheelers import major components and batteries directly or indirectly from China.

We don’t import because we like to, but because we have no choice.

RC Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki

American firms with manufacturing operations in India are facing difficulties in importing from China. Currently, there are 50 US firms across sectors such as telecom, FMCG, automobile, and medical equipment, having manufacturing operations in India. Looking at the situation, the US-Indian Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) sought the restoration of port operations. Moreover, many companies canceled orders from China.

China’s Retaliation
China has increased the price of paracetamol and ciprofloxacin antibiotic by 25%-27%. India imports these and other such drugs in large quantities due to the insufficient domestic production of raw material. It must be noted that in times of Covid-19, Indian generic drug has been in demand and nearly 70% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) used to make these drugs come from China. China also reacted by halting Indian origin shipments at Hong Kong Port. In this trade war, 200 industries have been impacted.

Top Five Ports of India

  • Kandla Port is the biggest container port in India in terms of value and amount of cargo.
  • Mumbai Port is India’s largest port by size and shipping traffic.
  • Chennai Port handles over 100 million metric tons of cargo per year.
  • Port Blair Port serves as a connection point between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
  • Kolkata Port is equipped with two dock systems, Haldia docks, and Kolkata docks.
  • The Gwadar Port is the deepest seaport of the world and is situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan. The port is under the operational control of China.
  • In the Qin Dynasty, the First Emperor of Qin inked the northern walls to prevent invasion from northern nations. In the Han Dynasty, the emperors extended the Great Wall of China far into today’s western China to protect the Silk Road trade. It allowed the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road.
  • The Government of India’s Economic Survey 2017–18 noted that five states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana — accounted for 70% of India’s total exports.

What Happened At Galwan?

What happened at Galwan valley?

Several speculations were being made over the recent clash between Indian and Chinese troops on June 15 in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley at Patrol Point 14. Following the Army press briefings and conversations with Army personnel in the Valley, the things have become more clear and for a better explanation, it is broken down in 3 phases.
Complete Coverage: India And China Encircling Each Other

Crux of the Matter

Phase 1
Ten days prior to the clash, lieutenant general-level talks were held in which it was proven that a Chinese observation post was on the Indian side of LAC along the Galwan River. It was decided to create a de facto ‘buffer zone’ and the Chinese dismantled the post following the disengagement at Patrol Point 14 where both armies had mobilised very close to the LAC.

The process decided during the previous meeting for disengagement had started from Galwan Valley. It was to be implemented after meetings between the commanders on the ground. During the implementation process, both sides clashed over the existence of a Chinese Observation Post in the ‘buffer zone’.

The 16 Bihar infantry battalion was deployed in the valley with its commanding Officer Colonel B Santosh Babu who even held talks with his Chinese counterpart a day after the Chinese dismantled the camp. On June 14, the camp unexpectedly re-emerged overnight and on June 15 Colonel Babu decided to personally lead a team wondering whether there has been a mistake.

The battalion was friendly and familiar with the Chinese officers due to regular meetings but when Colonel Babu along with 35 men reached they noticed fresh faces who were deployed for the first time there. The new unit was very aggressive and upon questioning, a Chinese soldier pushed the Colonel backward thereby raising the heat and temper.

Seeing the Commanding Officer being disrespected and assaulted the Indian team pounced on the Chinese leading to a proper fist-fight lasting for around 30 minutes with injuries on both sides. The Indian team prevailed and also burned the Chinese post to ashes. Colonel Babu asked the injured men to return back and asked for backup. This incident raised suspicions in his mind about more movements on the Chinese side.

Phase 2
Colonel Babu’s suspicions were correct and more troops were waiting in positions and as soon as they arrived, large stones began to land. Around 9 PM (on June 15) Colonel Babu was hit by a large stone on his head and he fell into the Galwan River. This led to the second brawl of fighting with the use of metal spiked clubs by the Chinese lasting for nearly 45 minutes until both sides disengaged.

The bodies of Colonel Babu and other jawans were carried back to the Indian side, while the rest of the Indian team remained on the Chinese side taking stock of the situation. And when things were at an emotional peak the Indian side heard the noise of quadcopter drone which became an immediate trigger for the third brawl.

The Indian backup comprising of Ghatak platoons who lead attacks and function as ‘shock troops’ from both the 16 Bihar as well as 3 Punjab Regiment arrived in large numbers. As suspected, the Chinese side also called a backup and the Indian team had to step deeper into the Chinese side to ensure they didn’t let large numbers of Chinese troops get close to the LAC.

Phase 3
The drone was moving through the valley, possibly using night vision or infrared cameras to map the damage and the third phase began around 11 PM. Troops continued fighting along the ridgelines and the intensity of the fight led to men on both sides fall into the narrow Galwan river having a sub-zero temperature.

After 5 hours of fighting, Indian and Chinese combat medics arrived to move their dead and injured and the remains of soldiers were exchanged. The physical separation of the fighting groups led to 10 Indian men comprising of 2 Majors, 2 Captains, and 6 Jawans being held back the Chinese side even after the disengagement.

Indian army lost 20 of its brave soldiers and Chinese casualties were more than roughly double of ours. The chaos in the darkness led to several injured men from both sides remaining with the other and by dawn on June 16, the Indian troops withdrew back across the LAC. The Major Generals from both sides then ensured that their men were provided medical treatments.

The tactical debrief report records that the Chinese troops involved in the brawl were not the regular unit deployed involved in multiple rounds of talks previously. It is suspected that there is larger intent to capture Indian territories by using more aggressive, less situationally acclimatized troops to spearhead an aggressive action.

In order to reduce tensions along the LAC, XIV Corps Commander Lt General Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart are conducting talks in search of a breakthrough. Currently, the disengagement process has begun and the Patrol point 14 is at peace.

  • A Ghatak Platoon, or Ghatak Commandos, is a reconnaissance platoon that is present in every infantry battalion in the Indian Army. Their name was given to them by Gen. Bipin Chandra Joshi. They act as shock troops and spearhead assaults ahead of the battalion.
  • The Seventeen Point Agreement is the document by which the delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama, sovereign of the de facto state of Tibet, reached an agreement in 1951 with the Central People’s Government of the newly established the People’s Republic of China on affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
  • Maryul of Ngari was a west Tibetan kingdom based in modern-day Ladakh and Tibet Autonomous Region. The Maryul kingdom was based in Shey and evolved into the modern Ladakh.

Chinese Fingers In India’s Business Pie

Chinese Fingers In India's Business Pie

Social media got flooded with anti-China sentiment after 20 soldiers attained martyrdom in Indo-China face-off at Galwan valley. People across India are voicing boycott of Chinese products. Even government entities like BSNL and Railways are reconsidering their tie-ups with Chinese firms. But with the dragon’s investment so deeply penetrated into the Indian economy, is it feasible to cut out China from the Indian Economy?

Crux of the Matter

Even though India has a significant dependence on China, the government has taken immediate action after the clash on the border with China. The Department of Telecommunications asked BSNL to not use Chinese equipment in the up-gradation of its 4G facilities.

Even Indian Railways decided to terminate the contract of the Chinese signaling behemoth China Railway Signal and Communication Corp, which had won the contract in 2016 to install signaling systems in over 400 km in the Eastern Dedicated Railway Freight Corridor. The deal worth ~Rs. 500 crore involved designing, supplying, constructing, testing, and commissioning signaling and telecommunications for the railways.

Let us have a look at some infographics to understand the footprints of Chinese in the Indian market.

  • The Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world’s 4th largest stock market by market capitalization at $4.0 trillion as of November 2018. The exchange started on 26th November 1990.
  • The Art of War is an ancient military treatise from China attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, lifestyles, and beyond.
  • Jack Ma, is a business magnate, investor, and politician from China. He is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group. Ma is a global ambassador for Chinese business and is often listed as one of the world’s most powerful people, with Forbes ranking him 21st on its “World’s Most Powerful People” list.

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.