India Won’t Let The Situation Freeze Into Status Quo
Second, it signals that India is determined not to let the situation freeze into a status quo. Even though at the highest levels it has taken an ambiguous stand, declaring that the Chinese were not occupying any Indian territory, the reality is that the Chinese have occupied some 1,000 sq kms of the grey zone in Depsang, Galwan, Gogra and Pangong Tso. The Indian strategy now is to push the Chinese to the point where they are willing to return to status quo ante as of April in these areas.
This is fraught strategy, and any of these incidents could escalate to a wider skirmish with consequences neither side may intend. In keeping with the way it handles these things, the Modi government is also seeking to ride the wave of patriotism roused by the commando anchors, so, there is also some media manipulation to overstate what is happening.
The government used the Special Frontier Force, manned by Tibetans, for the 29 August operation, and then made it known widely. This could not but have been seen as a provocative gesture by the Chinese. The presence of the BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav at the funeral of a Tibetan soldier of the force would be seen as an egregious slap on China’s face.
But if it fails, the situation could be more like Kargil where, having failed to prevent the incursions, India had to sacrifice the lives of more than 500 young men, even while claiming it to be a ‘great victory’.
(The writer is a Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)