India’s first home minister after independence Sardar Vallabhbhi Patel in a letter on November 7, 1950 to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister had given his opinion to build administrative or military policy measures on China.
In a letter he had said.........
“Our defence measures have so far been based on calculations of superiority over Pakistan. We shall now have to reckon with Communist China in the North and North East, a communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not in any way seem friendly towards us.”
Further he had said.......
“Let us also consider the political conditions on this potentially troublesome frontier. Our Northern or North-eastern approaches consist of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Darjeeling and tribal areas in Assam. They are weak from the point of view of communications. Continuous defensive lines do not exist. There is an almost unlimited scope for infiltration. Police protection is limited to a very small number of passes. There, too, our outposts do not seem to be fully manned. Our contact with these areas is by no means close and intimate. ... I am sure the Chinese…would not miss any opportunity of exploiting these weak spots, partly in support of their ideology and partly their ambition.”
He had suggested a long term consideration for defence and political and administrative steps which would strengthen Northern and North-Eastern frontiers.
India's debacle in 1962 after the Chinese massive incursion in Ladakh and NEFA Pt J L Nehru was cornered by the opposition in parliament. Pt.Nehru downplayed the national humiliation by declaring “not a blade of grass grows in the deserted wilderness of that uninhabited remote area, though it's their unscrupulousness that has caused us great agony." Hearing these words, eminent MP, Mahavir Tyagi rose from his seat running his hands over his bald head and said "Sir, not a single hair grows on my scalp, does it mean that my head should be chopped off." Hearing these words, Pt. Nehru and the entire Lok Sabha got shell-shocked.
Sardar Patel’s prophecy on China’s intention proved correct today when face-off between India and China at Rakinala in Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh region cooled on May 7. It was quite embarrassing when victory was declared with the withdrawal of force from our side and Chinese withdrawing from our territory. It was a hard bargaining when military level meetings failed to make any headway. Ultimately, diplomatic negotiation worked where the game the give- and- take was played.
India had to agree to Chinese demand to demolish bunkers near de facto border in the Himalayas, as part of a deal to end a stand-off. What provoked China was India’s the recent reinforcement and consolidation of Strategic forward positions along the LAC. This particular area Daulat Beg Oldi area has high strategic significance in view of its location. It is less than 50 km from the Karakoram pass where the borders of India, Pakistan and China meet. It also overlooks Saltoro Ridge of the Siachen glacier and the Indian observation post in the Chumar sector in the east. Erection of the Chumar observation post had apparently alarmed the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and it reacted with the April 15 intrusion deep into 19k.m.in Daulat Baig Ouldi (DBO) area and pitched 5 tents in Rakinala.
India’s soft approach is sending wrong signals since 1962. Thupstan Chhewang, former MP from Leh told this journalist “due to our soft approach we have lost our ground. We lost Aksai Chin and strategically crucial points are being grabbed one by one. In all these case much was hidden by the Government of India. In the latest incursion in Daulat Beg Oldi sector. Also the Government hid many vital facts. It is misinforming the people of India. Now China occupied Bhusa Nala, which is strategically very important for our defence. It has been our base inside 18 km of the LAC". He said after the withdrawal of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops from Daulat Beg Oldi area, there would be no Indian force to protect border and Chinese troop can return at will.
Giving priority to use diplomatic channel to sort out tension on Indo-China border by China Study Group of the government of India that includes the secretaries of home, defence and external affairs ministries also involved India’s industrial house for negotiation. According to Dr P.Stobdan, former Ambassador to Kyrghisztan “tension is reduced through diplomatic talks and experts but real outcome is yet to see”. He said politically or militarily Government of India is not clear on China.
When asked to describe the situation as Senior Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses New Delhi, he said “we are back to 1962 position. India, it seems by its soft policy and action will negotiate with China on Akasi Chin”.
38,000 square km of Aksai Chin was lost to China in 1962 but retaining the territory lying inside the Indian LAC is big issue today. Reason being poor infrastructure, shortcomings in understanding the boundary, discrepancies in maps held by various agencies, a lack of institutional memory, lack of clarity in South Block, and demoralised army.
About military respond to China, Dr. P. Stobdan was very lucid and said “Opinion is divided. Half of army doesn’t want handle China and half of it wants fight.” Giving credence to Dr Stobdan’s arguments Maj. Gen. B N Dhar (Retd) said “We have made fool of ourselves. Due to our own faults we have reached to this position. We have done nothing for the Army for developing infrastructure on the ground. We can give limited fight to China not much.”
What provokes China to keep India on tenterhooks when asked to Senge H Sering , President Insitute for Gilgit Baltistan Stdies Washington,he said “ firstly China sees India as a challenge to its own growth as Asian power secondly India shares border and culture with Tibet and Xinjiang which are demanding for more rights and in some cases outright independence”. He said China wants to keep India under pressure . It also uses countries like Pakistan to bleed to slow down the economic growth. It is also reported that China encourages insurgency in North East India,the Maoists, Kashmiris . All these are strategic tactics to keep her rival under pressure, he said. China’s strategy is deep-rooted to encircle India.China is linking bothe Aksai Chin and Gilgit Baltistan via road and rail to give her strategic edge overt India. According to Senge H Sering “ it will be able to surround Jammu& Kashmir from three sides. It will help add access routes to Tibet and Xinjing. Tibet will be linked to Pakistan ports via Gilgit-Baltistan, which has become an extension of Xinjiang province. In the long run, China’s role in Gilgit-Baltistan is vital to sustain her occupation inTibet and Xinjiang.”
About China’s activity in neighbouring country was endorsed by Defence Minister AK Antony in a written reply to the House, on May 6 that Chinese commercial and military activities in Pakistan’s Sindh province, close to the India-Pakistan border have been reported.