Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to rally Indian troops near a disputed frontier with China at Ladakh on Friday, telling them the country’s enemies had seen their “fire and fury” following a deadly border clash last month.
The incident in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh saw 20 Indian troops killed in brutal hand-to-hand fighting and was the first time in 45 years that soldiers died in combat on the Asian giants’ long-disputed Himalayan border. China has admitted it also suffered casualties but has refused to divulge how many.
Modi visits Ladakh: calls out China for ‘expansionism’
Accompanied by the head of India’s military and the army chief, Modi visited an army camp about 100 kilometres (60 miles) as the crow flies from the site of the battle before meeting injured soldiers in a military hospital.
“In these difficult circumstances, you are the shield of the motherland,” said Modi, sporting a khaki green parker jacket, aviator sunglasses and baseball cap of the “Fire and Fury” corps stationed there. “The enemies of Mother India have seen your fire and fury.”
Without naming China, Modi added that the “era of expansionism is over… History has shown how expansionism pushed humanity towards destruction.”
“India has always pursued the path of peace in the world but at the same time, those who are weak can never initiate steps for peace. Bravery and courage is a prerequisite for peace,” he added.
India purchases Russian jets as Modi visits Ladakh: a hint to Russia?
Meanwhile, India’s defence ministry Thursday signed off on the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 others worth $2.4 billion, amid rising tensions with nuclear-armed neighbour China. India buys Russian jets in the wake of the humiliation at Ladakh, which has accelerated its plans to modernize its military.
The purchase of 21 MiG-29 and 12 SU-30 MKI, as well as upgrades to 59 existing MiG-29s, was to “augment” the Indian Air Force’s combat squadrons, the ministry of defence said.
Speaking to GlobalVillageSpace, Andrew Korybko gives his insights into how Russia is positioning itself in the conflict between China and India. As reports of the situation in Ladakh finally cooling emerge after the meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China, the role of Russia has been significantly questioned. He says that India can not expect Russian help because of a strategic shift in relations, and also makes predictions for the future of Russian diplomacy and the situation in South Asia.
Modi’s visit to Ladakh border seems to be an indication that tensions are high, and the Indian Prime Minister wanted to ensure that his country was ready for war if it comes to that.
A friendless India: how Modi’s policies have alienated many countries
India has been at the centre of an aggressive nationalist movement in the wake of the election of Narendra Modi to the Prime Minister’s seat in 2013.
A common mantra of the Modi-led BJP government in India has been a policy of putting India first. It is through this policy that the BJP distinguishes itself from its competitor, the Indian Congress.
However, India’s status as the ‘big brother’ of the South Asian neighbourhood has been dealt severe blows by the expansionist policies of the Modi government. It has repeatedly picked fights with every country in the neighbourhood, which has infused in every government in South Asia a dislike for India – a far cry from the early 2000s when every state wanted to court India and its huge market.
India has picked fights with Pakistan over Kashmir, Nepal over Lipulekh pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, Bangladesh over the Citizenship Amendment Act and most recently China over the Line of Actual Control.
Analysts have long observed these changes keeping in mind the United States’ growing patronage of India. With the United States looking more and more toward India as an ally and pivot against China, India too has abandoned old alignments (such as with Russia) and has come out in full force against China and its neighbours in an attempt to exert superpower like influence.
It seems that this move has backfired: the recent humbling at the hands of China in Ladakh has proved that India is not yet ready for a confrontation with China – and can not rely on any government to come to its aid when the need arises.
Indeed, India is walking tis path alone, without any country to call an ally or friend.
Modi visits Ladakh as India-China relations devolve into a blame game
China and India have long had a prickly relationship.
Both sides have blamed each other for the clash and since sent thousands of extra troops to the region.
They have held several rounds of military-level talks and said they want a negotiated settlement but have made little apparent progress.
Amid outrage on social media, India has attempted to turn the screws on China economically, this week banning 59 Chinese mobile phone apps including the wildly popular TikTok citing national security concerns.
Chinese imports including raw materials vital to India’s huge pharmaceutical industry have reportedly been piling up at Indian ports due to more stringent border checks.
Ministers said this week that India will no longer buy Chinese equipment for power stations and that Chinese construction firms will be barred from new road projects.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular briefing on Friday hit out at “irresponsible remarks” by Indian politicians and called for cooperation.
“Frictions between both sides is the wrong way to go, and goes against the fundamental wishes of the people on both sides,” Zhao said.
“India should not make a strategic misjudgement on China.”
Watch Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director Asia Program, Wilson Center, Washington D.C. explain to Najma Minhas, Editor Global Village Space how recent US-China relations reached this point. What are the chances of near term improvement and how are India-China tensions being portrayed in Washington. How the India-US strategic calculus vs. China is perceived by the Chinese.
GVS News Desk with additional input by AFP and other sources
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