Uphill task for India in other Ladakh sectors

Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  At a time when disengagement of PLA and Indian Army along the Pangong Tso is complete,  former army officers advised caution instead of trusting blindly agreements with China.

These officers believe China has pushed in a lot of force and equipment to convey a message and the trickier phase begins now, as India has to handle negotiations with maturity and pragmatism.

Lt Gen HS Panag (Retd), a former Northern Army Commander, said China is forcing others to accept it is the domineering power in Asia. Also, because they felt threatened by the development of infrastructure on the Indian side, India may plan action from the Aksai Chin side.

ALSO READ: After months of denial, China accepts its four soldiers were killed in Galwan Valley clash; releases video

“By developing the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) highway, we were building lateral routes towards the LAC,” said Lt Gen Panag.

Adding that the Chinese were farsighted in persisting with the 1959 claim line, as it keeps them in an advantageous position, Lt Gen Panag said: “They chose the LAC in such a way that their positions are at the points of advantage and can dominate in future.”

ALSO READ: Artillery Guns moved back, bunkers brought down by PLA

The PLA has denied India access to the patrolling points in Y Junction in Depsang. It has also blocked additional movement towards Hot Spring. Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retd), another former Northern Army Commander, identifies Depsang as the trickiest point.

“Both sides have their claims in this area and this will take a lot of negotiations.”

Sub Sector North, of which Depsang is a part, is strategically most important. The terrain is such that large-scale armour operations is possible. China has multiple roads feeding this area while India has only the DSDBO road. By sitting at the Y Junction, China can obstruct India’s movement.

ALSO READ: Relationship with China cannot be normal without peace in border areas, says Harsh Vardhan Shringla

Depsang is also a link towards Siachen and the DBO airfield. Indian Army occupying the Kailash Range has been an important turning point, feels Lt gen Hooda and Lt Gen KJS Pannu, a former 14 Corps Commander.

They say China did not expect India to do that. Calling the disengagement Pangong Tso-centric,  Lt Gen Pannu feels China cannot be trusted.

“What guarantee can we have when China breached all five agreements signed since 1993. They may go back, re-strategize, replan, retrain, reequip, lull us into complacency and surprise us.”

ALSO READ: China says disengagement of Chinese, Indian troops in eastern Ladakh going on smoothly

By all estimates, this is going to be a long affair. It’s time to be ready and arm, train and equip our soldiers to deal with surprises in the future. 

Power points of  East Ladakh

PPs are patrolling points identified and marked on the LAC where regular patrolling is done to assert the physical claim about the LAC

As per general estimates, G 219 (Tibet- Xinjiang Highway) is at a distance of less than 4 hours from Depsang 

The average altitude ranges from 14,000 ft to 18,000ft. There are valleys and plains which allow fast movement of vehicles

Y Junction

About 20kms from strategic airfield Daulat Beg Oldi. PLA blocking around 100 sq kms in this area as India is unable to patrol points 10, 11, 11A, 12 & 13 (avg distance between points 10-15 kms)

Galwan

Indian Army went around 80 kms inside in 1962. This time, PLA is blocking Indian Army on LAC, going by the 1959 claim line. Disengagement took place after the June 15 clashes

Hot spring & Gogra

Occupied by PLA to create pressure on Indian Army and have an edge during negotiations

Finger 4

Strategically important. Movement towards rest of the Fingers & another route to Galwan blocked by PLA at this point