China’s inability to bypass Indian troops in the Line of Effective Control (LAC) means that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ability to intimidate anyone has diminished.
In an opinion piece for Newsweek written by lawyer and commentator Gordon G Chang, the Chinese president risked his future with the failed high-level People’s Liberation Army (PLA) incursions into more areas of the LAC, the border between India. and China.
The writer says Xi is the “architect” of these aggressive movements in India and that Chinese troops unexpectedly collapsed.
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The failures of the Chinese military at the LAC will have consequences and give Xi an excuse to accelerate the replacement of adversaries from the armed forces with loyal elements.
Also read: China invokes 1962 war to put India on the defensive. It will not work | Analysis
However, these failures motivate Xi, who as chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China and head of the PLA, to renew his attempt to launch a new offensive against the Indian positions.
In early May, Chinese troops advanced south of the LAC in three separate areas of Ladakh. With the border poorly demarcated, Chinese forces have entered Indian positions for years, especially after Xi was appointed party secretary general in 2012.
Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies told Newsweek that the large-scale maneuvers in Tibet were not preparations for such an initiative.
In June, China and India engaged in a violent confrontation in the Galwan Valley. Chinese troops killed 20 Indian soldiers in a premeditated move and the clash was the first deadly clash between the two countries in 45 years.
While the Chinese side reportedly suffered 43 casualties in the confrontation in Galwan, the number could exceed 60, according to Paskal.
At the end of last month, for the first time in half a century, India launched an offensive against China, retaking strategic points recently seized by the Chinese. The offensive surprised the Chinese forces and they withdrew.
Chang, the author, says that China’s subsequent efforts to counter India have proved ineffective. For now, Indian troops, in the southernmost part of Ladakh’s three regions, are under its control, which was once in Chinese hands.
“India is not giving invaders a chance to improve. The two sides have just accused the other of violating the decades-old rules of engagement by firing warning shots. It seems, however, that the Chinese are the closest to the truth: Indian troops are showing renewed audacity, ”says the author.
“The game has changed. You can tell Indians are more aggressive or more aggressively defensive, but they are actually more daring and better, ”Paskal told Newsweek.
According to Jayadeva Ranade, a former senior Indian intelligence official and now head of the New Delhi-based China Analysis and Strategy Center, Xi, who has now faced a setback, now needs a “victory” and could force the continuation of the conflict in Ladakh.
Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Strategy and Assessment Center told Newsweek that the Chinese in this conflict could deploy “a joint mechanized war for which they have been preparing for 30 years.”
With the rapid build-up of Indian forces and their high readiness, Xi is not assured of the success he needs, especially since India has brought its own mechanized vehicles to Ladakh, according to Ranade.
“PLA leaders are beginning to see little choice but to take offensive military actions to avoid becoming a victim of Xi’s internal terror,” says Fisher.
“What we’re learning in 2020 is that Xi wants victories, and as the PLA is deemed to have achieved the required levels of force by rearming and reorganizing, Xi is increasingly willing to use the army, ”adds Fisher.
Xi has shown that he is good at political mobilization of the military and that he can spend huge sums on military equipment. He also perfected the art of bullying other countries. However, the Chinese president has yet to show his army in a fight and it is worth it.
“Unfortunately, it looks like the Chinese leader, who looked invincible, now has something to prove. As a result, he seems absolutely determined to make his point by launching another attempt to break India, ”Chang said, adding that other countries will realize that the Chinese military is deficient.
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