Is China’s massing of troops on the LAC a diversionary tactic?

From April 2020 onwards, China has been gathering troops, armaments, and weaponry right along the much-disputed LAC or Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh as well as other parts of the LAC. This has led to stand-offs and conflicting skirmishes at Pangong Tso Lake located in the Galwan Valley, Gogra-Hot Springs as well as many other areas. PLA or People’s Liberation Army made headways into the Indian Territory, building many defenses and fortified structures and this has led to a major change in the geopolitical structure of the ground. Differences in the options and perceptions regarding the LAC and its alignment have always existed among the two nations. Nevertheless, both India and China agreed on several stipulations and clauses intending to maintaining peace, equilibrium, and tranquility in and around the border. Disagreements were mostly resolved through diplomatic talks and conversations. However, the latest military activities along the LAC threaten to disrupt all of that.

As the months progressed, the clashes between the two countries along the LAC went on to take more serious proportions. On May 5, clashes between the Indian Army and the PLA led to injuries for more than 70 Indian soldiers. Clashes were also reported on May 9 along the region of North Sikkim in Naku La. More clashes followed in and around Ladakh. This made it necessary for a peaceful agreement between India and China to resolve the conflicts. Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar entered into talks with Wang Yi who was his Chinese counterpart in Moscow on September 10 and they both agreed to come to a 5-point resolution that can help both the countries to enter a peaceful agreement. On February 11, India and China agreed to disengage on the south and north banks of the Pangong Tso Lake and cease all of their forward military deployments in a coordinated and phased manner. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh believes that this is going to restore the standoff situation in a major way and resolve the conflict that has been going on since last year.

Many analysts suggest that this latest move made by China is a type of diversionary tactic which is again aimed at effectively keeping New Delhi somehow off balance. The goal of China is to try and make India succumb to pressure. So far their plan has not worked. In the past, both China and India have agreed to come to a mutually acceptable solution that is both reasonable and fair.  The boundary issue was somehow managed in the past when back in 1959 the boundary between the two countries was not acceptable to India. Had India accept the previous boundary proposals, China would need to move away from the parts that it had already captured in Ladakh as these recent intrusions and attacks are against the 1959 line claimed by Beijing at Depsang plains. The truth is that the bilateral ties and connections have suffered greatly after multiple intrusions carried out by Chinese troops were detected by India in Ladakh.

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