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Sizable Indian soldiers moved from Kashmir to China border

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An unspecified number of Indian soldiers deployed in Kashmir to fight the popular armed insurgency have been shifted to the border with China in Ladakh, where the Chinese and Indian armies have been locked in a stand-off since May last year, Anadolu Agency quoted a reputed Indian defense analyst as saying.

"I can't reveal the numbers but a sizable number of Rashtriya Rifles soldiers have been moved to the Line of Actual Control (LAC)," Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and editor of defense magazine, FORCE, told Anadolu Agency correspondent in Srinagar.

"The fact that they have been shifted to the LAC should be an indicator enough for the reason behind the move," Sawhney said when asked what prompted the withdrawal and redeployment.

Sawhney has been advocating withdrawal of the army from counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir so they could focus on border security and what he considers the bigger threat -- the People's Liberation Army. He has called for "making peace with Pakistan and seeking areas of cooperation with China."

The LAC is the undefined border between India and China in the Ladakh region and currently the site of a military standoff between Indian and Chinese armies. India moved thousands of troops to the border after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers armed with nail-studded clubs in June last year.

China controls 1,000 sq. km. of area in Ladakh

About 1,000 square kilometers of area in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is now under Chinese control, intelligence inputs provided to the central government suggest, Indian media reported on September 1, 2020.

A senior government official said that from Depsang Plains to Chushul in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh there had been a systematic mobilization by the Chinese troops along the undefined LAC.

The official revealed that in Depsang Plains, from patrolling point 10-13, the scale of Chinese control of India's perception of the LAC stood at about 900 sq. km.

About 20 sq. km in Galwan Valley and 12 sq. km in Hot Springs area is said to be under Chinese occupation, the official said. In Pangong Tso, the area under Chinese control is 65 sq. km, whereas in Chushul it is 20 sq. km, the official said.

Ladakh may look like a stalemate, but China is winning against India

While pundits agree that Asia is the site of an ongoing shift in the global power balance, what gets little attention is how New Delhi's reworking of military priorities--forced by events on the disputed Sino-Indian border--will have far-reaching geopolitical consequences for the world, says Sushant Singh, a senior fellow with the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi.

Writing in Foreign Policy on January 1, 2021, Sushant said Beijing has forced New Delhi to focus on securing its land borders at the cost of its strategic military transformation, handing China a clear long-term advantage.

The current crisis began last May when China diverted its soldiers from a training exercise into Ladakh, catching the Indian Army off guard amid the pandemic. The gravity of the situation became clear in mid-June when 20 Indian and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a violent clash, where not a single bullet was fired. The front-line soldiers of two nuclear-armed neighbors used batons, clubs, and stones to inflict injuries and cause deaths, Sushant said, adding:

"Since then, there have been multiple attempts at disengagement and de-escalation on the disputed border, but the political and military talks--the last one was held on Nov. 6--have been futile. The Chinese have refused to restore the pre-May status quo in Ladakh, where they now control an additional 600 square miles of territory.

"Indian and Chinese battle tanks are positioned only a few yards apart at standoff sites, while more than 100,000 soldiers of both armies remain deployed at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 feet, where temperatures can dip to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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