Indian military professionalism ?
A year after the military escalation between China and India in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army still feels scared and hapless.
China has not vacated the mountainous tops which were earlier occupied by Indian Army and it (India) lacks the potentials to forcefully get these strategically significant areas vacated from China’s control.
Indeed, as per a report of “The Hindu” 31 August 2020, Chinese Army snatched about 1,000 square kilometres area from India Army in Ladakh region, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
There are some reports which say that China captured more areas in Ladakh, adjoining Aksai Chin in May and Jun 2020 which India is not disclosing to media and even parliament.
In June 2020, twenty Indian soldiers and officers were killed by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during a physical scuffle in Galwan Valley, east of Ladakh.
As per BBC, June 1, 2021, a year after the Ladakh military clashes, there is no change in the military escalation between India and China.
This is despite the ceasefire and rounds of talks between India and China which ended on promises only.
As per Ajai Shukla, a former Indian military colonel, “The border stand-off in the past year has profoundly altered India-China bilateral relations.
The Chinese have put on the table an earlier claim line that the Chinese had laid out in 1959, which caused the 1962 war.
Despite heavy Indian military deployment along the LAC, China could not be pushed out of the region in last one year, which has miserably frustrated Indian military and political leadership.
It has exposed the claims of Indian military Chief, General Bipan Rawat (Chief of Defence Staff) who once boasted that, Indian military can fight two-front war.
The military escalation of 2020 was humiliating and demeaning for Indian Army and Indian nation. Sequel to Indian illegal act of undoing the special status of IIOJK on August 5, 2019, India lost three key locations to China in East Ladakh.
These locations included: one, the Galwan Valley, largely known as Hot Springs area in Eastn Ladakh, two; at the “finger areas” of Pangong Lake and three; Patrol Point 14, 15 and the Gogra Post.
The northern bank of the Pangong Lake is just like a palm and the various protrusions are identified as “fingers” to demarcate territory. Gogra Post is 80 km South East of Galwan Valley; between Pangong Lake and the Valley.
As observed from the past practices, “No maps have been exchanged in this area between India and China demarcating what is the LAC.” It is only the understanding between local military commanders of both sides which depicts the LAC.
Indeed, despite modernization of its military with latest equipment, Indian armed forces have been found wanting once compared with China and Pakistan. Indian military maintains a low morale and ill motivation.
In last few years, Indian Armed Forces have been badly exposed on a number of occasions against Pakistan and China.
Indian Military have faced humiliation at the hands of Pakistan, losing two fighters and one helicopter besides a Submarine detection.
It lost a sizable portion at the hands of China in Laddakh region without any cohesive response.
The military humiliation has seriously dented international repute as well as confidence that West reposed in Indian Armed Forces to act as counter weight to China.
Besides, the prejudiced Indian Armed Forces suffer from class segregation based on sect, ethnicity and religion thus creating a sense of alienation in all ranks and highest despicable welfare standards of troops. Then, there is saffronisation of Indian Armed Forces employed as “Radical Hindutva tool”.
Tall Indian claims of surgical strikes against Pakistan were also exposed by international media and even Indian law-makers.
Its 0.9 million deployed security forces could not subdue Kashmiris from their freedom struggle. There are reports that, there is no cohesion within armed forces of India involving squabbling of funds/huge expenditure of ex-chequer.
Then there is preferential promotions in Armed Forces (Gen Rawat as CDS is a case in point) based on religion and support to Hindutva ideology.
Only 2% Muslims serving in Armed Forces against their population of over154% with promotion frozen till Colonel.
Intelligence community has barely any Muslim representation in India which claims to be secular state and Muslim soldiers suspected of being 5th columnists.
The Sino-Indian military conflict in East Ladakh has badly exposed Indian military capabilities, its military strategies and above all its boastful military commanders.
After a military brawl with Chinese Army where it lost its acclaimed territory and military men, India has surrendered to superior Chinese military might in the region.
The political leadership of India under Prime Minister Modi and his domestically aggressive team has lost credibility at all level.
The Indian misadventure and military miscalculation against China has authenticated Chinese ascendancy and its superior strategies.
Indeed, Chinese did with India what Sun Tzu said, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.