Galwan (River) Valley
Galwan Valley is named after Galwan River which flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region to Ladakh of India. It originates in the area of Samzungling on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and flows west to join the Shyok River. It is one of the upstream tributaries of the Indus River.
The Galwan Valley has always been under India’s control. It has not figured in China’s map since 1962
Aksai Chin is a region that is administered by China as part of its Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions (mostly as part of Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang) and claimed by India as part of the union territory of Ladakh.
Upon independence in 1947, the government of India used the Johnson Line as the basis for its official boundary in the west, which included the Aksai Chin.
“The Galwan Valley is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in the west section of the China-India boundary, For many years, the Chinese border troops have been patrolling and on duty in this region. Since April this year, the Indian border troops have unilaterally and continuously built roads, bridges and other facilities at the LAC in the Galwan Valley. China has lodged representations and protests on multiple occasions but India has gone even further to cross the LAC and make provocations.” Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said.
China on Friday stated “New Delhi deliberately made provocations” to unilaterally change the status quo of control and management of the area.
China claims the entire Galwan Valley in Ladakh, the site of the violent June 15 clashes, including areas that are currently on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control.
The Conflict: Why now, and what next? ?
Chinese part submitted Indian troops had violated the agreement reached during commander-level talks between both sides and crossed the Line of Actual Control. “They even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties,” he alleged. “The adventurous acts of the Indian army have seriously undermined the stability of the border areas, threatened the lives of Chinese personnel, violated the agreements reached between the two countries on the border issue, and breached the basic norms governing international relations.”
Josef Gregory Mahoney outlined a few reasons behind the conflict among which four may well be featured here :
- China’s position as a rising power, its close relationship with Pakistan, and its strategic plans to deepen its influence and connections for instance through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in ways that unnerve New Delhi is a major factor.
- U.S.-China relations have deteriorated, Washington has courted New Delhi with a proposed anti-China ‘Indo-Pacific’ alliance.
- A new Indian law that split Ladakh, the area where the clash took place, from the internationally-contested state of Jammu and Kashmir, and established it as a union territory governed directly by India’s Central Government.
- India’s construction of a new road allowing rapid military deployments near the line of actual control.
Both the sides had recently announced to deescalate the conflict by holding the next round of “Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC)”. China’s release of ten captured Indian soldiers was a key first step.
Indian government on Friday signed an agreement worth 750 million U.S. dollars with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) (a multilateral development bank wherein China holds voting rights and capital subscription to nearly about four times vis a vis India and largest among all member states) to assist the country to strengthen its response to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor and vulnerable households.
Three Questions over which Indian politician Asaduddin Owaisi talked upon on a TV news channel and targeted the Modi Government and senior leadership with Indian Army:
- Didn’t Indian Intelligence Bureau report on 5th April this year to Central government on China’s consolidation of its Army ?
- Whether or not the Modi Government acquainted with the fact that the Chinese troops entered into Galwan River Valley on 5th May and on 9th May it entered 2.5 Km inside into Nathula Pass at Sikkim ?
- 17th-18th May Isn’t it true the Chinese had intruded into the Wang san su lake area ?
He reiterates, “with the area encompassing Galwan Valley being in possession of China, it may obstruct the access of Indian Army to Siachen Glacier and will halt the communication nearby Karakorum pass.”
The ruling BJP government reiterates the 1995 and 2005 agreement related to LAC issues in force which asks to maintain peace and tranquility at LAC and “Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question” respectively.
Key Features (1996):
“If the border personnel of the two sides come in a face-to-face situation due to differences on the alignment of the line of actual control or any other reason, they shall exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid an escalation of the situation. Both sides shall also enter into immediate consultations through diplomatic and/or other available channels to review the situation and prevent any escalation of tension.”
The agreement, also for the first time in India-China rules of engagement, makes it clear that “neither side shall open fire or conduct blast operations within 2 km of the Line of Actual Control”. This is what led to a practice, where troops on both sides, never brandished weapons at each other and at most, indulged in a physical jostle.
“Both sides shall avoid holding large scale military exercises involving more than one Division (approximately 1 5,000 troops) in close proximity of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas. However, if such exercises are to be conducted, the strategic direction of the main force involved shall not be towards the other side.”
Meanwhile Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh.
Congress on Saturday asked the Centre to clarify its stand and urged for a response today itself and “not wait till tomorrow”. “What is the government’s answer to this claim? Now that China is claiming the entire Galwan Valley, will Government of India reject this claim,” former Union minister P Chidambaram asked.
Transgressions by China
In Rajya Sabha, a question submitted to the Home ministry, also on 13th August, 2014 (unstarred question 3776), requested details about the specific “number of times the Chinese intruded into Indian territory during the last five years.” The answer, which focuses on transgressions due to differing perceptions of the border, is quite revealing.
|Year||Number of Transgressions|
|2014* (as on August 2014)||334|
Transgressions doubled from 2011 to 2012. Based on the seven-month data the Home ministry provided for 2014 (through August 4), Chinese transgressions appear well on track to substantially exceed the 400-plus levels of the previous two years. It’s hard to reconcile this pattern with the economic cooperation messaging happening in parallel.