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“China sees Ladakh as the second front of the US”

“We in India continue to look at the boundary issue(with China) from the LAC perspective, while the Chinese have a larger agenda, they consider Ladakh as the second front of the US, they are militarily responding to our political postures in that area. The question is do we have an agenda, is it to liberate Aksai Chin? to liberate Tibet ? we don’t have any agenda, whereas the Chinese have a bigger agenda- to contain India and to safeguard the BRI”  explained Amb P Stobdan, he was addressing a panel discussion titled ‘Altered Status Quo in Ladakh: Securing a Better Deal’ at the India International Center(IIC) on Monday. 

Amb Stobdan emphasized  Ladakh’s geo strategic significance, particularly in the eyes of China  “China views Ladakh as strategically very important, it even went to the United Nations Security Council twice on the issue of Ladakh, for them it is  a big issue  just like Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.”

Amb Ashok  K Kantha, former Ambassador to China felt that China would as of now continue to keep the border with India unsettled “At present Chinese are not interested in an early boundary settlement, they would like to maintain and element of disequilibrium along the border areas as a pressure point against India, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  China is currently involved in 4 theatres- South China Sea, East China Sea, Taiwan and India. I don’t think Chinese want to pacify the Indian border before they take action on Taiwan, if they wanted to do so then there are several agreements within which they could have done so. ”

Amb Kantha underlined that it is particularly difficult to deal with China as it continues to change the goalpost  “China has changed the nature of the dispute, earlier it used to be about different perceptions of the LAC now it has become about soverinity claims.”

While acknowledging that there exists a mismatch between the two nations in terms of comprehensive national power Amb. Kantha pointed out that this should not deter us from safeguarding our boundaries”what we need is capacity building, border infrastructure, ability to induct forces at critical points at the border. These capabilities are not linked to overall comprehensive power, there may be huge disparity and asymmetry, yet when it comes to specific board areas we can match their strength.”

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