Uttarakhand : On the 1st of December 2022, India and the USA, two of the worlds leading democratic powers, engaged in a joint military exercise at Auli near Joshimath, Uttarakhand. This area is in the 100km radius of The LAC (Line of Actual Control), the international border between India and China. This event irked the Chinese, who expressed concern and came up with a statement that accused India of violating the 1993-1996 Bilateral Agreements. The PLA has deployed tanks in southern Pangong Tso.
The PLA is widely known to cherry-pick past statements and agreements to blame India. Ironically, the 1993-1996 Agreements were violated by China itself when they infiltrated Galwan Valley in May 2020. And further in Kugrang Nala (patrolling point 15) and Gogra (patrolling point 16) along with the northern banks of the Pangong Tso. The PLA (Chinese Army) continued to violate these agreements when it gathered its forces near the LAC without any hope or indication of de-escalation.
The PLAAF (Chinese Air Force) has violated several air protocols too. The Bilateral Agreements mention that no fighter aircraft can fly within 10 kilometres of the LAC. Another area of violation is the construction of Chinese infrastructure near the borders of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Chinese recall of the 1993-1996 Agreements on the high-altitude mountain exercise between India and the USA indicates that the Chinese are worried about the growing strategic ties between USA and India on national security issues and Indo-Pacific.
The Chinese Social and Propaganda media is continuously trying to keep Washington and New Delhi distant from each other regarding military issues. The recall of the USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal in the 1971 war with Pakistan is designed to promote distrust of the USA among the Indian masses.
Additionally, Chinese social media has been actively commenting on the US-India exercises. They have posted unseen pictures of Indian troopers along with their photos who bravely fought and lost their lives in the Galwan skirmish.
According to a military observer, the rise of India as a military power is a cause of worry for the Chinese. According to another source, China plans to ban TATA-produced Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles as the same organisation provides military trucks in India-US Exercises.
The Chinese aggression in Galwan forced Colonel Santosh Babu and his troops from the Bihar Regiment to push them back from occupying Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley. As a result of which, Colonel Santosh Babu was killed along with 20 brave soldiers from the Indian Army on the 15th of June 2020.
Instead of blaming India, the Peoples’ Republic of China must pull back its troops and Army in Eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh in the North East and restore peace, harmony and tranquillity as was envisaged in these agreements. Merely changing goalposts to suit PLA’s tactical and strategic objectives is somewhat disingenuous from an aspiring superpower.