This week, The Hindu broke a story about a minor face-off in the first week of May between Indian and Chinese patrols in the three-kilometre-wide buffer zone created in the Galwan Valley. The buffer zone was created post the 15/16 June 2020 brutal, medieval clash without arms that left 20 Indian and unspecified number—officially four—of People’s Liberation Army soldiers dead.
Apparently, after the 30 days moratorium on patrolling, both sides occasionally patrolled up to their respective claim lines at different timings. This time, it seems that the rival patrols came face to face, but the situation was diffused according to traditional protocol.
In my view, this was a minor issue. However, it was the denial by the Army along with an alleged insinuation against unidentified “sources trying to derail the ongoing process for early resolution of issues in Eastern Ladakh” that reflects poorly on the Indian political and military strategy adopted to counter China’s aggression across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Last week, the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the foreign minister held forth on the likely approach being adopted by India.
The top brass speaks
On 19 May, in an interview with CNN News18, COAS General M.M. Naravane said that “both sides are observing the disengagement in letter and spirit. There has been no transgression of any kind and the process of talks is continuing.”