Something bigger is afoot then just shifting the LAC a couple of KM in Ladakh, Indian strategist must think several steps ahead of the Chinese if India is to defeat the challenge which is currently in the Ladakh region but could spread elsewhere
all, a large number of Chinese troops and armaments are massed in Tibet right along the Indo-China border.Even within Ladakh, the Chinese intruders have changed the goalposts a couple of times since the beginning of May, when they first turned up in huge numbers.The pushing and shoving that marked their ingress in early May gave the impression that they were primarily targeting the north bank of the Pangong Tso lake.
The two countries’ perceptions of the LAC along that bank have differed for years. So, that seemed like only a more belligerent repeat of past skirmishes.But the Chinese were also pushing at the boundaries in the Hot Springs and the Galwan area at the same time.And by mid-June, the Chinese had not only consolidated up to Finger 4 on Pangong Tso, the main action had shifted to the hitherto undisputed boundary in the Galwan Valley.
In the couple of days after the fight at Galwan on the night of June 15, the Chinese apparently consolidated fortifications right at the Line of Actual Control there.In fact, according to most expert estimates, their new battlements at a major bend of the river are actually on the Indian side of the LAC.
The following week, it turned out that the Chinese had moved forward in the Depsang plain farther north and were approaching a bigger strategic prize — the highest airfield at Daulat Beg Oldi.That airfield is very close to the Karakoram Pass on the India-China border — the established border, not the Line of Actual Control skirting Aksai Chin.
A top priority should be to figure out what the Chinese game plan is and to get ready to thwart the endgame before it is upon us, possibly in early winter.This requires insightful analysis as well as the various kinds of information gathering resources at the government’s disposal.
For, given the shifting Chinese goalposts, Indian strategists need to think several steps ahead of what is obvious on the ground.Heavy deployment ought already to have been organised in the Depsang area while the Galwan operation was being planned.
It is possible that Demchok further south and other sectors of the long boundary between the two countries could be the next targets.I have warned at security-related conferences for more than three years now that India should keep in mind the lessons of the 1965 War, when Pakistan intruded in Kutch to draw Indian forces to the other end of the India-Pakistan border before they went for their real objective — Jammu and Kashmir.