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The Recent Physical clash, Brawl, and Fisty Cuff between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army(PLA) at the icy heights of more than 13000 FTs from mean sea levels at the Eastern Ladakh of Galway valley caught the attention of not only Indians or Chinese but the entire world.

As it is indeed a cause of concern for the whole world as 2 Giants are not only the most populous country of the world but both have significant numbers of Nuclear arsenals, hence any escalations from now could lead to serious devastation.

Why Does India not respond against the PLA as it used to do with Pakistan?

The Debate has erupted within as to why does Indian Armed Forces or security forces are not treating Chinese PLA as the same as the Pakistani Army?

As because of the frequency of our encounters with the Pakistani Infiltrators or the Unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani Forces at the Indo Pak borders, all Indians are pretty accustomed to such news as always India does give befitting replies to all the unproved actions by Pakistani Forces. But why does our heart melt for Chinese soldiers as we allow them to cross the border and would only have hand to hand combats and push them with only our physical powers and not using any weapons as we do against our western neighbor?

Western vs Eastern Border

India shares its western land border with one of the beloved neighbors “Pakistan” while India Shares eastern Borders with China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar.

Let’s compare the difference in our attitude towards dealing with China and Pakistan.

Please understand, the western border which India shares with Pakistan comprises 3323 Kms of the land border starting from Rann of Kutch in Gujarat till erstwhile J&k.

The Line of separation was demarcated on the map and on the ground very clearly by the British Lawyer called Sir Redcliff between India, Pakistan and now Bangladesh.

As per the demarcation by Britishers, the two countries got bifurcated till Punjab and the erstwhile j&K decided to be an Independent.

But when the Pakistani Tribal raider mingled with Pakistani soldiers starts annexing J&K from Kashmir valley and Jammu Region, the state force of J&K could not hold for long the barbarism of Pakistanis to the local civilians and Maharaja approached India and on Oct 1947 signed the Instrument of accession which made J&K a legal state of India.

Hence Indian Army with IAF starts pushing all Paki Raiders back from Srinagar, Akhnoor, Uri,Badgam, Baramulla, Rajouri, Punch, etc place recovered almost 2/3rd of J&K , the UN intervened and announced to have ceasefire between India and Pakistan and grant each force to sit till the places they acquired and draw the separation line in erstwhile J&K which would be acting as de facto borders between India and Pakistan, this line is known to be as “Ceasefire Line”.

India had taken the Territory of the J&K east of the Ceasefire line while the west territory became the de facto territory of Pakistan known as POJK(Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir).

In 1971 when India gave the bloody nose to Pakistani aggression and Indian Armed Forces changed the map of South Asia along with 93000 prisoners of war, India, and Pakistan to improve relationships in 1972 had done Simla Accord between the supreme leaders of both where India returned 93k POWs of Pakistani and made Pakistan officials agree for Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent nation and here the erstwhile “Ceasefire Line” had been changed into the ” Line Of Control (LOC)”.

Hence India now shares the International border and LOC with Pakistan.

The International border is the demarcated and well-delineated border between India and Pakistan passes from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and J&K but since Pakistan had illegally occupied territory of J&K known as POJK or POK the line which separated Indian de facto with Pakistani de facto J&K is LOC.

Hence both the International Border(IB) and the LOC which India shares with Pakistan is well defined, mutually accepted, and internationally accredited and well-demarcated on maps and on grounds, and almost 70% of the International border and LOC are fenced.

Even the local populations are living in the area in the bank of IB and LOC as most of the part till Jammu and Kashmir Valley are hospitable for Humans.

Since the separation between both is well demarcated in form of either IN or LOC hence any incursion or intrusion or Infiltration by soldiers, civilians, Terrorists with or without any weapons is considered to be an act of war and the respective Security personnel (Indian Army or BSF) are well within their jurisdiction to shoot the infiltrators without thinking for a second.

Hence, The security personnel has been dealing with an incursion from Pakistani sides with the sharpest attitude.

Now additionally when in 1972 after Shimla agreement, LOC was mutually accepted as the de facto demarcated line between India and Pakistan in J&K, the line starts from the valley of the Chenab river in Jammu region goes till the northernmost part at the base of Siachen Glaciers called as “point NJ9842”.

In a Nutshell, the LOC was demarcated from Jammu till NJ9842 which describes the de facto region between both countries.

The region north of point NJ9842 that is the starting point of Siachen was undecided, un demarcated, and the mutual agreements had not been done whether the part north of NJ9842 belongs to India or Pakistan and the basic reason was the glacier was highly inhospitable and not in the wildest dream at that point in time anyone could have imagined deciding the fate of Glacier where the average temp. remains -30 to -40 deg centigrade, extreme lack of O2, Hypothermia, ice burn, loss of memory, etc is very very common with the altitude of 20000 ft.

But seeing the strategic importance of Siachen Glaciers and alteration in the map of European mountaineers which were showing undecided glaciers as Pakistani territory, Indian Army launched operation Meghdoot in 1984 and Operation Rajiv in 1987 and captured the maximum territory of Siachen and made the triangular strategically important glacier from Indira Col till the Karakoram pass the sovereign part of India.

The Siachen has been so important for India because it is the part which acts as a buffer between India’s adversaries viz . China and Pakistan.

Had India not been Captured Siachen Glaciers, the collusion of Chinese and Pakis soldiers would have happened till now and it would be the worst day for us as far as India’s security is concerned.

Now, the LOC ends till NJ9842 and the de facto line which separates  maximum part of Siachen under Indian administration and glaciers under Pakistan is known as “Active ground position line” or “AGPL”.

The AGPL is the line that is almost 45degree Northwest from point NJ9842 and comprises 110kms.

Hence the length of International border+LOC+AGPL=3323 km which is the de facto length of the border between two well demarcated.

Chinese Border

India Shares its eastern, northeastern, and Northern border with China ranging from Eastern Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

The Border which India shares with China is known as the “Line of Actual Control” or “LAC”.

The perception of LAC for India and China is different because the LAC is not the line that has been mutually accepted by both countries and hence the demarcation and delineation of LAC have not been done neither on Map nor on Ground.

As far as Indian perception is concerned, the LAC is having a length of 3488 km while the Chinese perception of LAC is mere 2000 Kms.

Hence, in a nutshell we can say that LAC is nothing but an imaginary line which both countries see as a boundary between both but with a huge difference in perception.

Pre 1962 war, India has control over the easternmost of Ladakh now called Aksai Chin which after the victory of China, illegally occupied by Chinese, and hence just like Pok the line has been assumed to separate their de facto region of Ladakh(Aksai Chin) and ours is known as LAC.

Since Ladakh is one of the world’s highest mountainous Desert, the average altitude is more than 13000 ft, hence it is inhospitable and rarely villages exist.

Hence, as per the perception of India, Indian troops (Indian Army and ITBP) use to patrol till the point they think LAC exists while the Chinese Army patrol the area till the point they think LAC exists.

Now, in both of their perceptions, there is some mutual region that comes under both of their perceived LAC and this is the root of the point of contention between both armies.

The only reasons for regular Fisty Cuff between both parties of soldiers is only because the LAC has not been demarcated clearly neither on Ground nor in Maps and each one has their versions of the line of separation.

For example, in the Pangong Tso area, the mountain spurs at the northern bank of the lake marked from finger point 1 to finger point 8 starting from west to east.

Now Indian claim is that LAC passes from finger 8 but contrary to India, Chinese claims between Finger 4 and 3 the LAC passes. Hence the area between finger 3 to finger 8 must be the point of contention between both and both must have had physical clashes in mutual regions.

More than 25 Hot points are active between Indian And Chinese perceptions where in every couple of days, Brawls are very common.

Now here I have given the basic answer, why the Indian Army is having not so strict actions against the chinese Army as they used to have with Pakistani counterparts.

The reason is clear because the borders are not demarcated, both countries have their own perceived LAC and hence physical clash is almost everyday affairs between the patrolling parties.

The second reason is the Area is so inhospitable that no one can stay there for long but to prove their territory according to one’s version of LAC , patrol parties from each side come and go.

Hence being these brawls and physical clashes so common, (sometimes even more than once in a day), if both parties start using Rifles, Arty, etc then we would have been witnessing the War between both countries since 1948.

Hence, Understanding the practicality of the ground both have made confidence-building measures (CBM) by the Diplomatic and Military talks and ” Peace and Tranquility” agreement had signed between both in 1993,1996,2003,2005,2012,2013 to de-escalate the day to day face-offs between both Armies and standard operating procedures(SOP) have been set.

To explain a few, in a situation when both parties meet and face-offs happen, banner drills happen whereby showing banners situations use to be eased by pulling both sides back.

When Faceoffs happen, the soldiers are instructed to carry their rifles slung on their shoulders pointing the barrels of gun downwards toward the ground and both Parties use to follow it strictly.

Recent Violent Clash

The recent Clash between both the Army had caught the attention of Indians because it was bloody violent clash resulted in the unprecedented martyrdom of our bravest of the brave 20 soldiers of the 16TH BIHAR REGIMENT in the first time after 1975 violent clash in NEFA(now Arunachal).

The Fisty Cuff is not new, it is almost every time affairs that most Indians are unaware of but this was Unprecedented backstabbing by Chinese which Breached all Peace and Tranquility agreements set between both.

Now, this incident has the potential to change the Military relation with China, and India in the coming days could change the SOPs along LAC, Much stricter than previous. 

Conclusion

Now my above descriptions are enough to get understand why Indian Forces never bear any incursion from LOC and see it as an straight act of war while lenient towards the incursion from LAC.

The sole reason is mutually accepted Demarcation !!!


Colonel M.M Nehru

Col. MM Nehru, Director at NFA, is a Personality Developer. He is an experienced trainer and has orchestrated numerous sessions around leadership, time management and personal effectiveness for corporate clientele. He holds a master’s degree (PGDM) in Defence Studies and Business Administration and was an Arts Graduate. If you want to know more about Colonel Nehru Click Here

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