03 Sep

Is China Converting LAC into LOC

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by Lt Gen J P Singh, PVSM, AVSM, former Dy Chief of Army Staff
To many, current Chinese actions appear baffling as the Dragon is giving the impression of  taking on the entire world aggressively…. the world that matters anyway! Its belligerent and provocative stance in the South China sea, along the Line of Actual Control with India or its actions in the IOR, are all part of the non-subtle messaging that China is indulging in. There is no randomness in this signalling, as it is all part of a carefully crafted strategy.
Through a host of these tactical manoeuvres, China is creating a secure space, and providing depth to its Belt and Road Initiative. Trillions are being spent by China on BRI to establish global economic highways linked to China, which by 2040 will replace the dollar hegemony. Security of these economic highways is of prime importance to China.
Specific to Ladakh, India’s rapid improvement of infrastructure poses a threat to the CPEC. Chinese do not much believe in rhetoric when it comes to serious strategy, even though they can endlessly repeat a lie to gain psychological advantage over their adversary. So the moment  our Home Minister  made claims on Aksai Chin and POK, the Chinese construed it as a realistic threat to the CPEC. So China is now hardening the LAC into LOC. We may witness a similar Chinese military stance in  the East i.e. Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh  to give depth to its projects in Myanmar and Bangla Desh. Should this happen, it would spell trouble for India. LAC converted to LOC will bleed us in terms of manpower and revenue expenditure and eat into our capital outlays for modernisation. 
One will spot a similar pattern in SCS and IOR by relating it to BRI.
China will finally dare USA only by 2040 when it makes breakthroughs in what is called second technology wave. These comprise Quantum Technology, Hypersonics, Machine Learning, AI, IOT, High Energy weapons, Robotics, Unmanned Systems, Space as a domain, Cyber and so on. In some of these fields, China has already surpassed USA, even though China is well aware that with its present overall capability, it cannot match USA. It is looking at a time frame of 2030-35 when the second RMA is unleashed with new wave technologies. By then the economic arteries under BRI would have also stabilised.
In Ladakh, we are currently focused on one of the many global tactical actions of China. While we have to, and we must, respond, an overkill in terms of an operational build up in the sector needs to be avoided. China is looking for dominance, not war. Our focus should be on building dissuasive capabilities in the short term and a strong  deterrence in the  mid/long term. Given the state of our economy, we need to be prudent in budget management and R&D efforts.
  Unfortunately, we are still too focused on training and equipping to fight the “Gulf War” with Russian equipment….86% of our current inventory is from Russia. In the  true sense of the word ATAMNIRBHATA, as applicable to the  defence sector, we should be focused on R&D, design and development of second wave technology systems and platforms while simultaneously, sustaining and upgrading the present inventory. That is the way to go!

6 Replies to “Is China Converting LAC into LOC”

  • Harvijay Singh

    A very crisp and logical appreciation of the current situation.

  • Capt Praveen Chopra

    A good write up that builds a foresight for our Defence planners. There is a need to make a quantam leap in the R&D sector to make up for the lost years before we are able to match upto our adverseries. As of now we have just about taken our first baby steps in this field. The skill lies to firmly secure our present while we ready our selves for the future and fill in the technological gaps. A big challenge. We have the resilience to do it and have done it before like the Space sector. We need to think elephantine to build up a strong R&D base, and beg, borrow or steal technology if required.

  • RK Janghu

    Nice read sir

  • Anil Ahuja

    Very aptly highlighted the nuances of Aatmanirbharta .
    Our rhetoric ( literally) of being “vocal for local” is not enough. We have to develop and absorb technology to prepare ourselves for future multi domain warfare. Nobody is going to give us niche technology. Well highlighted

  • We have a task in hand to match China in terms of R and D and also giving a technology demonstration of Wothy Deterrence in the spectrums as envisaged by China . In pursuing such goals ,we shouldn’t get burnt out . The Non Contact Warfare will be the order of the day . The warfare will commence from space and will aim to paralyze your systems of command and control . Likely Damage Assessment will be part of such emerging technologies.

  • MAJ Gen A K Dewan

    The oft repeated claim by our political leaders on Aksai Chin and POK is mere empty rhetoric to whip up public sentiments.

    Won’i it also be in India’s interest a to convert LAC and LOC to International Border?

    How long are we going to continue with the present stalemate of Chins’s claim on Arunachal Pradesh as part of their territory?

    How long are we going to continue with the rhetoric of taking back every inch of our territory?

    All of this puts a great strain on our development plans, more so now when Covid has pushed down our economy to its knees.

    These are points to ponder about by the Government in power to find answers. No doubt any settlement of border issues would come with some give and take. Sweeping them under the carpet would not help.

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