We Restricted Our Army Only To See The Chinese Altering Status Quo Along LAC

We Restricted Our Army Only To See The Chinese Altering Status Quo Along LAC

5 September 2013
India Today
Jugal R Purohit

New Delhi: Reacting to the report submitted to Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and accessed by Headlines Today of the Chinese gaining over 600 sq km of Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh, Lt. Gen (retd) JS Bajwa (60), among the most credible experts on China, made his displeasure at India's handling of the issue known. 'We all know that you can press your claims only from a position of strength. We have been acting in good faith with the Chinese,' he said. Further elaborating, he stated, 'Our agreements on maintaining peace and tranquility with China are based on the premise that all along status quo will be maintained. This was stressed even in the Joint Working Group (JWG) to the Chinese and agreed upon. And this information is implies they are trying to alter that.' General Bajwa, retired recently as Director General of the Infantry directorate, had a four decade long stint in the army where he held key positions from where he got opportunities to deal with and observe China at close quarters. An officer to the Kumaon regiment, he authored a book on the modernisation of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) last year. Addressing his point, the general said, 'Since the 80s, the China Study Group (CSG) had laid down the limits of patrolling even in areas which we claimed. Army, mind you, all along wanted to patrol the entire region where the Line of Actual Control (LAC) runs. Depsang bulge was one such area where the complete geography was within India's map and yet, troops were being allowed to patrol only west of Budsa and Chungtash.' He went on to blame the 'wisdom of powers that be' for the current situation where despite the Chinese not building any permanent structures and India claiming the region, our troops do not patrol these zones. Not surprising then that in the report submitted to CCS by former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, Depsang is listed as an area which has now become inaccessible to Indian troops, especially after the stand off over there in April-May this year. He added that the day India's political entities became willing to take on the onerous task of defending the country, 'Army will ensure it is done.' Historical perspective According to general Bajwa, 'The way our LAC alignment is placed is based on our position as on September 7, 1962. At that time, the Chinese were far to the east. Subsequently, after November 1962, China claimed the area that they had conquered so there are bound to be perceptional differences.' What did the Headlines Today report say? Last month, in a report submitted by the Chairperson of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) Shyam Saran to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), based on ground study in eastern Ladakh, following were the factual positions stated: - Patrolling limit set by incremental PLA area denial in eastern Ladakh has become the de factor LAC - Resulting area denial (to India) is 640 sq km in three sectors namely Chumar, Pangong Tso and Depsang - 70 sq km of Indian territory in Pangong Tso is under PLA control now - Indian troops are unable to patrol four sectors - Post incursion of the PLA in April-May, the Depsang bulge is now no longer accessible to Indian troops - PLA's unmetalled road in Rakhi Nallah of Depsang, across the LAC, is intact and being used by the PLA