LAC: The Issue with China

What is LAC?

Line of Actual Control is a geopolitical border, a line that splits Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the Sino-Indian border dispute. This was formed after the 1962 Sino-Indian war and is always in news due to its nature of dispute between the two countries.

The entire Sino-Indian border (including the western LAC, the small undisputed section in the centre, and the McMahon Line in the east) is 4,056 km long and traverses one Indian union territory, Ladakh, and four Indian states: Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. On the Chinese side, the line traverses the Tibet Autonomous Region. (Source: Wikipedia)

Existing Situation

The Galwan River flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region to Ladakh of India. With the tension rising on Galwan valley and every hour there is some or the engagement by the soldiers, the situation is getting worst. Border talks are carried out to prevent clashes and at a larger scale to avoid a situation of war, the latest satellite images and ground reports pose as a threat and situation remain tense. Some talks carried out on Wednesday have failed indicating that Chinese side is looking for disengagement.

On July 15, 2020 there was a major violent clash between the two sides in Galwan Valley that resulted in 20 Indian soldiers being killed in the line of duty. The broader standoff in eastern Ladakh between the two armies was first reported on May 5 after a fist-fight between troops along the Pangong Tso river.

As reported by ET, Chinese troops have intruded up to 3 km in the Galwan area and are dominating the heights that threatens the strategic Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road.

Why did the soldiers not open fire during the clash?

There were many questions raised on social media and other platforms where people wanted to know why did the soldiers not open fire or use guns if the soldiers were carrying them. It is due to the agreements and protocols signed between India and China in 1996 and 2005.

“With a view to preventing dangerous military activities along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas… Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometres from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges,” says Article VI(1) of the 1996 agreement. (Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-if-soldiers-on-lac-were-carrying-arms-why-did-they-not-open-fire-6467324/)

In Article 1 of the 2005 agreement, “the two sides will resolve the boundary question through peaceful and friendly consultations. Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means”. The 2013 agreement on Border Defence Cooperation also stated that neither side shall use its military capability against the other.

But there are some changes that can be done if the situation gets worse and one of the country use violence or go against the basic agreement rules.  Right now, the situation is getting worsen as it is evident from satellite pictures and other confirmed sources that China is bringing hundreds of soldiers and heavy equipment. It is also seen that there are some developments happening at each hour in Galwan Valley by the other side.

Social Media and #BoycottChineseproducts

Twitter and other social media platforms are using hashtags and are going vocal about boycotting Chinese products and companies. People have deleted some of the Chinese apps as well which has triggered China as their major businesses revenue comes from US and India. Even after millions of online users are protesting against Chinese products, the irony is that one of the mobile company operator of China had their launch recently, and the smartphone got sold out within minutes.

Personal Note

The ambiguity between China and India with respect to the LAC has been creating tensions in the valley and it will be better if the leaders will come to a conclusion where both parties will negotiate for a better and peaceful world.