Last week, the world’s most populous nations, India and China, both nuclear armed, clashed in the high Himalayan region of Ladakh.
At least 20 Indian troops died and 12 were reportedly taken prisoner before a cease-fire went into effect. So far, there were no reports of Chinese casualties.
Ladakh is one of the world’s most remote, obscure and inhospitable places, a plateau averaging 4,200 meters altitude (about 14,000 feet) with frigid temperatures, scant oxygen, little rainfall, and howling winds. This bleak moonscape has long been called ‘Little Tibet’ because of its semi-nomadic ethnic Tibetan yak-herders. China has pretty much crushed the life out of Tibet’s ancient culture while India has helped preserve the Tibetan way of life.
China and India’s confrontation in airless Ladakh reminds me of the ‘bon mot’ about Ethiopia and Eritrea’s battle over the barren Ogaden desert region between them: ‘two bald men fighting over a comb.’
I’ve been over much of Ladakh by jeep, foot and even yak, and atop the world’s highest glacier, Siachen, that overlooks Ladakh. India and Pakistan have been fighting over Siachen for decades, making it the highest war in history and another crazy conflict. As a Pakistani officer told me, ‘we hate one another so much we will fight to prevent them from occupying our part of Hell.’
My book ‘War at the Top of the World’ (available through Amazon) is all about the conflict in the Himalayas and Kashmir between India, Pakistan and China.
So why are China and India at daggers drawn over the Galwan River Valley in Ladakh? Both are busy dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Delhi and Beijing have conducted off and on diplomacy to ease Himalayan border tensions.
The clash in Ladakh was no accident but clearly a planned offensive act by China – and the biggest military operation since the two Asian giants went to war in the Himalayas in 1962, producing a serious defeat for India. China then said the war was a ‘serious message’ to India to restrain its ambitions in the region.
This time, it appears that the Chinese sent another ‘message’ to India. Part of this problem was due to the British Empire which never properly demarcated its Himalayan borders between the British Indian Raj and then independent Tibet. Some borders were never surveyed; others drawn with thick pens, leaving whole regions with unclear borders. But in those days no one cared about the vast emptiness at 14-17,000 feet. That is, until China moved in an occupied Tibet in 1950-1951, putting it on India’s northern border.
Since then, India and China have been uneasy rivals with both sides laying claims to parts of the Himalayas, Karakorams and the great rivers that course down from the Tibetan Plateau, providing water for much of Southeast Asia’s peoples.
Two recent issues have sparked the latest round of fighting – with threats of a much bigger war between Asia’s two giants. First, India’s new Hindu nationalist government under PM Narendra Modi has made no secret of its growing hostility to both China and its close ally, Pakistan, India’s longtime rival.
Modi’s revoking of Kashmir’s autonomous status and its division into two states has created major new tensions in the region. So have Modi’s plans to fashion a purely Hindu state in India, and China’s growing influence over Burma.
But a more important source of China’s anger has been growing efforts of the Trump administration to build a close military alliance with India to counter-balance China’s increasing military power.
Though seeming counter-intuitive to Trumps’ efforts to secure re-election by getting Beijing to buy more produce from American farmers, the Pentagon is preparing for a future war with China. Trump came close to facing military coup in recent weeks and is trying to avoid angering the Pentagon and Washington’s active and retired military establishment.
Meanwhile, the fiercely anti-Muslim White House has quietly allowed four million Hindu Indians to emigrate to the United States as a way of countering the growing number of Muslims in our nation. Trump even offered to mediate the intractable Kashmir dispute, a proposal scorned by all sides.
Source: the author’s blog
It is a WATER WAR and North East India is a part of Southern Tibet and Tibet is an INALIENABLE PART OF PRC
Tibet is the birth place of the Mekong and the Water flowing into India.
Tibet is a part of PRC – since 1000s of years.India has no locus in Tibet SAR
Arunachal is a part of South Tibet,and the people are from Northern China.It is a part of PRC or a disputed region at worst.
India CANNOT make a dam in Arunachal.dindooohindoo
The PRC is completing its water strategy with this dam.Selling power to Nepal is a good option as it brings about the stake of a soverign nation, in the project and cements the alliance of Nepal and PRC.In due course,HT lines can be set up,for evacuation to Dhaka
Low Cost Hydro power will operate the PRC manufacturing in Nepal – making the Hydro project and T&D structures financially viable.It will also obviate diesel imports,from KPT for Nepal and lead to situation wherein Nepal will import NOTHING from India as PRC will manufacture everything IN NEPAL.Then the Nepali State, can kick out the Madhesis – else, the Madhesis will partition Nepal.
Most importantly,the Chinese Dam will provide water security to Pakistan – as, if India disrupts the water supply
to Pakistan,in war or peace time – PRC will reciprocate in the North East
Water flows based on gravity and the earth’s rotation.
The fact is that if PRC releases the water from the DAM, the entire military logistics of the Indian Military,in the North East,will be destroyed for years.The Chinese have seen the state of MUMBAI in the MONSOONS.
And India CANNOT reciprocate ! That is the TRUTH.
Water,Scalar weapons,DEW,EMP are all legitimate lines of offense.They require NO LEAD.in any BULLET and NO RADIATION. The Perfect War Doctrine.
Indians will have to SAFEGUARD the dam,and factor it in the WAR CALCULUS, while the PLA can feign blissful peace.
The DAM will justify PLA and ADS and BMD batteries near the Dam – which is VERY CLOSE TO THE BORDER.All the equipments to sustain e-warfare against IAF will be next to the border – and there is Nothing that the Indians can do.
If Chinese engineers can crash Indian Sukhois and Choppers – it will not be TOO DIFFICULT to hack into the computers of the Indian North East Dams.Then the Indian Navy can send their subs in the canals