Indian and Chinese soldiers recently had another scuffle at the disputed Ladakh border, when Indian troops crossed over into Chinese territory. Due to this, around twenty Indian soldiers, as well as some Chinese soldiers, died at Galwan Valley.
In an interview with Najma Minhas, Managing Editor of Global Village Space, Dr. Moeed Pirzada, journalist and CEO of Global Village Space, said that Chinese reports on the India-China Ladakh scuffle were likely more reliable due to their consistency and clear facts. He said that Indian reports, on the other hand, were ‘patchy’ and kept changing.
India-China scuffle at Ladakh: the incident as it happened
An Indian army officer based in the region said that there had been no shooting, and that the officer killed had been a colonel.
“There was no firing. No firearms were used. It was violent hand-to-hand scuffles,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.
China had accused Indian soldiers of crossing the Line of Actual Control, in a bid to drive the Chinese out of the disputed region, which is controlled by China but claimed by India.
China called on India not to take unilateral actions or stir up trouble, it was reported.
The Chinese nationalist tabloid Global Times reported the number of deaths on the Indian side, but said China had not released information about casualties. The editor of the Global Times said on Twitter that the death toll was not released because China did not want the people of both nations to start comparisons, at a time when both countries find themselves ravaged by the coronavirus.
Chinese side didn’t release number of PLA casualties in clash with Indian soldiers. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 16, 2020
This incident is even more alarming because it comes when both countries are in the midst of diplomatic talks to reach an amiable consensus on Ladakh.
Indian government incessantly picks fights with neighbours: Dr. Pirzada
Recently, there had been efforts from both sides to improve relations and resolve their dispute. However, as Dr. Pirzada commented, Indian encroachment into Chinese territory has further weakened their position at the negotiation table. He held the Indian government responsible for tarnishing India’s reputation in the international community by picking fights with neighbours unnecessarily, and reminded viewers of how Indian fighter jets tried to attack Pakistan’s mainland without provocation for the first time in 70 years under the rule of the BJP and Modi.
India and China had engaged each other on a senior military level in order to carry out negotiations over the next few weeks, which is why Dr. Pirzada said that the Chinese seemed surprised that the Indian troops would cross over into Chinese territory and worsen the situation.
China said Wednesday it wanted to avoid further clashes with India along their Himalayan border after the first deadly confrontation between the two nuclear powers in decades.
China urged India to “strictly restrain frontline troops, do not illegally cross the border, do not make provocative gestures, do not take any unilateral actions that will complicate the border situation”. But it was added that the two sides “will continue to resolve this issue through dialogue and negotiations”.
India may unload its anger on Pakistan after scuffle at Ladakh
When Mrs. Najma Minhas asked Dr. Pirzada about the meeting of the top brass of military officials that had taken place in Islamabad on Tuesday, the 16th of June, he replied that the armed forces had to be kept in the loop so that they are prepared for any action that may arise out of this India-China scuffle.
He also added that Pakistan must stay on high alert as India continues to stir trouble at the Kashmir Line of Control and with its anti-Pakistan rhetoric.
He further added that India’s misdirection of its anger is not without precedent, highlighting India’s failed ‘surgical strike’ attempt in February 2019 against Pakistan, which backfired massively and left India with egg on its face after Pakistan announced it had fended off the Indian Air Force and had also captured a pilot.
Indian media recently spread false news about blackouts in Karachi out of fear of an Indian strike, which shows India’s fear-mongering techniques. India’s government is looking for an avenue to deflect the blame of the public, and may use Pakistan as the scapegoat in this endeavour.
Irresponsible manoeuvres have landed India in hot waters: Dr. Pirzada
Dr. Pirzada also castigated regional strongman and Indian Prime Minister Modi for his scheming approach toward the border issue.
He maintained that Modi is ostensibly talking about peace but showed his true colours by authorising the clandestine operation by the Indian Army which has left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
While this was done to improve India’s bargaining position, the failed move has left India red-faced in front of the global community with its treachery unmasked for the world to see.
US hopes for peaceful resolution of border flare-up
The United States voiced hope that India and China will peacefully resolve differences after New Delhi said at least 20 troops died in the Asian powers’ deadliest clash in decades.
“Both India and China have expressed a desire to de-escalate, and we support a peaceful resolution of the current situation,” a State Department spokesperson said. The spokesperson said the United States was “closely monitoring” the situation and, referring to India’s announcement of casualties, said: “We offer our condolences to their families.”
US President Donald Trump last month said he was ready to mediate between India and China, although his administration could not offer further details on what he was proposing.
Trump’s offer, via a tweet published on his personal account on Wednesday, came after Indian defence sources said hundreds of Chinese troops had moved into a disputed zone along their 3,500 kilometre-long (2,200 mile) frontier.
We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
India, however, rejected US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate the India-China border flareup, saying it was already engaged with Beijing to “resolve this issue”.
“We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve this issue,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters during a weekly media briefing when asked about Trump’s tweet.
“Our troops have taken a very responsible approach towards border management,” Srivastava added.
This India China scuffle at Ladakh proves otherwise, as reports point to India being the instigator.
Watch Dr. Pirzada discuss the ongoing India-China tensions with Najma Minhas and analyse the situation for the region:
Moeed Pirzada is Editor Global Village Space; he is also a prominent TV Anchor and a known columnist. Pirzada studied international relations at Columbia University, New York and Law at London School of Economics, UK as a Britannia Chevening Scholar. Najma Minhas is Managing Editor Global Village Space; Interview was conducted online through Zoom and is available on GVS News YouTube Channel.