As the stand-off with China continues for the 26th day, trucks carrying soldiers, machines and supplies continue to make their way to Galwan Valley, with sources saying many of the reinforcments being sent to Ladakh are from Kashmir.
“The shifting of troops from LoC to LAC happens under dire circumstances, and these are dire circumstance,” said a senior officer. He added that at the Command and Corps level, there are 'uncommitted reserves' that can be moved without impacting operations on the ground. In Kashmir's case, it would be counter-terrorism operations.
These troops are being sent in location to ‘create some pressure on the PLA’ via road and air, those aware of the developments said.
Villagers in Durbuk, close to where Indian and Chinese troops are eyeball to eyeball, say 80 to 90 trucks pass through their area every night. The convoy is a mix of Army and civil vehicles and carries troops, ammunition and supplies.
However, Lt Gen SL Narsihman strikes a note of caution. “Some of this movement could be for winter stocking as well. When the snow melts and passes open, the Army stocks its forward posts for the next winter. These are the months when it happens.”
In the summer months, when the threat of Chinese intrusions is at its peak, the Indian Army conducts an excerise in Ladakh. The Chinese do the same. However, this year, because of Covid-19, the Army cancelled all its excerises with a result that there were no reserve acclamatized troops in the region when the Chinese intruded. The Chinese on the other hand came in the guise of their exercise.
When asked if this was an intelligence and operational failure, a senior officer said, "China stabbed us in the back. In the middle of a pandemic, this was not expected."
This week will see another attempt by the Indian Army to resolve the stand-off via talks. A second round of Major General-level talks are in the offing. The first round took place on May 22 and 23 but yielded nothing. The Chinese went back and continued with their troop build-up and even boasted about it.
An article in Global Times, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party, lists Type 15 tanks, Z-20 helicopters and GJ-2 drones that have been added to Chinese arsenal for high-altitude conflicts against India. It says, “Chinese troops have bolstered border control measures in response to India's illegal construction of defence facilities across the border into Chinese territory in the Galwan Valley.”
The threat does not stop there. In another article, Global Times warns India to stay away from the US-China cold war. “If in a new cold war, India leans towards the US or becomes a US pawn attacking China, the economic trade ties between the two Asian neighbours will suffer a devastating blow. And it will be too much for the Indian economy to take such a hit at the current stage.”
A senior officer says the article is coming from a place of insecurity and the stand-off in Eastern Ladakh is a 'pressure tactic' to extract a promise of neutrality from India in the face of a US-China cold war.
Meanwhile, India and China both claim that 'military and diplomatic' level talks are on to resolve the issue amicably.