HomeTop Stories65 patrol points on the Ladakh LAC which do not constitute the...

65 patrol points on the Ladakh LAC which do not constitute the Indian line of claim

When Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was asked about the withdrawal of PLA troops from Patrol Point 15 in the Kugrang River on 13 September, he correctly and succinctly replied that it was “one less problem” with China’s authoritarian regime after the May 2020 War of 1,597 km Eastern Ladakh LAC.

on May 2020, the aggressive PLA under the control of Chinese ruler Xi Jinping crossed the Kugrang River, Gogra and northern banks of the Pangong Tso areas, destroying all peace and tranquility agreements of the past. The Indian Army, bound by the 1993-1996 border agreements and subsequent Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), did not open fire as it would have led to vertical escalation like when the brave Colonel Santosh Babu and his men taught a lesson to the Chinese at Galwan. at patrol post 14 on June 15, 2020.

Since the May 2020 defection, the Chinese have established new permanent structures across the LAC, contradicting past bilateral agreements and confidence-building measures. It may be recalled that in 1976 the Cabinet Committee on Security under the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi approved what were then called “Patrol Limits” as defined by the then Cabinet Secretary and the China Study Group (CSG) on large topographic sheets.

In eastern Ladakh, the then Congress government approved 65 patrol points from the Karakoram Pass to Chumar as the limits for patrolling by the Indian Army and avoiding confrontation with the PLA. These points are well inside the Indian claim line on the LAC and were defined to maintain peace and tranquility on the border with China, which in 1962 emerged as the superior military force in the border war.

While the Narendra Modi government and national security planners are very clear that patrol points do not define India’s claim to the LAC in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army must also not take the easy way out and defend the LAC only up to these patrol limit points on the map. Withdrawal from Patrol Point 15 will in no way restore the status quo in April 2020 in the Ladakh LAC as the PLA has to deploy new military structures that have sprung up along the line since the aggression.

The Chinese must respect India’s line of claim in the Depsang Bulge and Demchok area and restore the Indian Army’s right to patrol points 10 to 13 in the strategic bulge area as well as the Charding Nullah junction in Demchok before normalizing bilateral relations with Beijing. Simply put, the Indo-China LAC in eastern Ladakh is not defined by checkpoints, but by the Indian line of claim.

Just as the Modi government showed the way by ordering its troops to occupy dominant positions on the southern banks of Pangong Tso on August 29-31, 2020, and subsequently forcing the PLA to disengage from the northern shores of the lake, the Indian Army must now be in a position of strength along its entire length of 3488 km, the LAC as an adversary understands only the language of strength, not peace.

 The fact is that the Indian Army has no options as the PLA will continue nibbling away at Eastern Ladakh, LAC, until it establishes its 1959 line, as advocated by the then Chinese Premier Chou or Zhou En-Lai, on the disputed border. China has made its intentions on the disputed border very clear, the time has come for the Indian Army to do so.

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