The Chinese challenge and the Galwan truth!

The White House in its Indo-Pacific strategic report has stated that “India faces significant geopolitical challenges from China and its behaviour on the Line of Actual Control”.  Expressing concerns over the malign Chinese role in the region, the first region-specific report released by US President Joe Biden-led administration says that it has had a galvanizing impact on India because China is combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might to become the world’s most influential power. The report chides China, saying that the People’s Republic of China has been undermining human rights and international law, including freedom of navigation, as well as other principles that bring stability and prosperity to the region. The result is that China’s aggression is driving India closer to Washington.

However, China has always been at its nefarious designs and its decision to make a regimental commander, who was injured in the Galwan clash, a torchbearer for the Beijing Winter Olympics, to say the least, was disturbing. The said officer was part of the military command that attacked India and was involved in genocide against the Uyghurs. This came close on the heels of the alleged abduction and torture of a 17-year-old from Arunachal Pradesh by Chinese forces. In Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan admitted in a written reply that China continues to be in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 square km of Indian territory in the Union Territory of Ladakh for the last six decades.  A bridge is being constructed in areas that have continued to be under the illegal occupation of China. Significantly, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the tense situation at the Line of Actual Control was due to the disregard of written agreements by China not to amass soldiers at the border.

Beijing is already in a tight spot in view of the findings of a year-long investigation “Galwan Decoded” by a group of social media researchers that China’s casualties in the June 2020 Galwan valley border clash with India were much higher than the official figures. This offsets the growing power and expansionist activities of China. In fact the People’s Liberation Army has to cut a sorry figure because as against the count of just four fatalities, a report in an Australian newspaper says at least 38 Chinese soldiers drowned while crossing a fast-flowing river in sub-zero temperatures in darkness. It says that a lot of facts about what really happened had been hidden by Beijing and mostly fabricated stories were told to the world.  Earlier a Russian news agency had revealed 45 fatalities on the Chinese side. India had announced it had lost 20 soldiers and honoured some with gallantry medals but the PLA accepted only four deaths and that too much later. Indeed history cannot be distorted and heroes cannot be forgotten.