In the Mahabharata, the Kaurava Army had better warriors and Generals than the Pandavas; their forces were also much larger and better trained. It was on this strategic calculation that Prince Duryodhana decided to fight against the Pandavas. The Pandavas won because they had Dharma (Righteousness) on their side. The Kaurava Generals were not convinced about the righteousness and justification of the claims made by Prince Duryodhana; they were fighting more due to pledged loyalty than a conviction for the cause. This weakness led to their destruction and that of the entire Kaurava Army.
If we apply the same template to the situation between India and China we can conclude that the Chinese are going through the paces with a distinct lack of conviction. To move from mainland China through thousands of kms of Chinese Occupied Tibet (COT) and Chinese Occupied East Turkestan (COET) and then lay claim on territory that has been a part of another country for millenniums is neither righteous nor justified. There is also no support for the cause coming from the Chinese people. Such a misadventure, therefore, distinctly lacks courage of conviction and has left the Chinese soldiers confused and scared; their resolve to fight stands seriously eroded. Their situation, therefore, is the same as that of the Kaurava army – the strength is there but courage of conviction is lacking.
Indian Army, on the other hand, is fighting for a cause that is absolutely righteous, justified and close to the heart of all Indian nationals who are backing their forces completely. Ladakh is a region which our noble ancestors gave their lives to defend in 1962. There is no way that the present generation of Indian soldiers will let down their ancestors. Indian Army, therefore, is in the same situation as the Pandava Army.
The morale of the nation received a considerable boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Ladakh on 3, July. He met the injured soldiers in the Hospital and then gave a very motivating speech to the troops deployed in the region. “Our enemies have seen your fire and also your fury,” he said. “Your courage is higher than the heights where you are serving today… Not only me, the entire nation believes in you. We all are proud of you,” he added. More significantly, the prime minister quoted a Bhagwad Gita Shlok (verse) “Veer Bhogya Vasundhara” which means “the brave shall inherit the world” and in an oblique reference to Chinese perfidy said, “This is the era of development. The whole world has made up its mind against expansionism.”
Earlier, a lucid insight was given by Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of the Bhartiya Janata Party, in the course of a discussion with prominent domain experts through a Webinar. He said that China is pursuing the military doctrine of “victory without war” as advocated by their legendary strategist Sun Tsu. The attempt is to register nibbling land grab victories against India without firing a bullet. This is the reason behind China not agreeing to the demarcation of the LAC and yet not firing a single bullet over the last many decades.
Ram Madhav went on to very emphatically maintain that India, under the ruling NDA Government, has adopted a counter policy of claiming ownership of the LAC as perceived by her. The circumstances have made untenable the nibbling policy that China had so successfully applied for decades and which saw them, in 2013, coming 19 kms into Indian territory in Depsang and pitching tents. The Government of India, under the BJP, will always strive for peace, but with self respect. India will not accept humiliating compromises anymore and if this makes China prone to misadventures then India will respond adequately and assertively. An application of this policy and posture has been witnessed in Doklam earlier and in Eastern Ladakh now. “We do not want war, but, we will not settle for the peace of the graveyard,” said Ram Madhav very categorically. He further added that India is improving infrastructure in Ladakh at a very rapid pace and will continue to do so.
There is absolute truth in what Ram Madhav has said and in what the whole of India believes. Ladakh has been a part of India since millenniums. It came under Sikh rule in 1834. After the first Anglo-Sikh War, 1845-46, the British, in accordance with the Treaty of Amritsar, sold the territories of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Ladakh to Gulab Singh, the Dogra Rajah (King) of Jammu for a sum of Rupees 7.5 million. Thus was created the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the title of Maharaja bestowed upon Gulab Singh by the British.
Jammu and Kashmir remained a princely state all through the British rule and the Dogras administered Ladakh as a Wazarat (principality). When India gained independence, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26, October, 1947, effective 27, October, 1947, making Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India. Hence, there remains no doubt about Ladakh being a part of India.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was created in 1921 and came to power in 1949 much after the boundary between Tibet and Ladakh had already been finalised by the British through the Simla Convention of 1914. CCP has forcefully annexed its own mainland and so many adjoining regions like Tibet, East Turkestan, Mongolia etc. It definitely has no claims on these annexed territories what to talk of Ladakh or any other Indian territory.
Even if one concedes to a small edge in military capacity to China, it is the professionalism of the Indian Army, its commitment to the nation and its noble legacy that will prevail. The PLA is a politicised force used more for keeping the iron control of the CCP on the subjugated people, especially COT and COET.
Citizens of India have every reason to have faith in and feel pride for the Government and the Army of the Nation who are taking all necessary actions to safeguard national interest and sovereignty and are achieving great success in their endeavours. The need of the hour is to stand by them and boost their morale.
(Jaibans Singh is a reputed strategic analyst, columnist and author)
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