On the Current State of India-Nepal Relations

Folks, sharing some thoughts on the current state of India-Nepal relations.


I remember watching this above news break some days ago. My first reaction was not anger, but instead, sadness. Deep sadness is indeed what took over me when I saw this finally happen.

It was also partly the reason why I chose NOT to write anything on this issue. But now I think it is time I share my thoughts. As always, I am going to be writing this on the go, with only a very vague structure to my thoughts. Let’s see how it goes.

Firstly, the map being passed was inevitable. No politician worth his salt would want to vote AGAINST a resolution calling for ADDING territory to his country.

It doesn’t matter that Nepal chose only now to come up with an entirely new map after all these years of existence as an an independent Nation. Heck, even in their boundary agreement with China in 1961, where there was practically NO involvement of India, their map was what is shown below – WITHOUT the now famous finger-type protrusion.


Yet, now the Commie govt decided they needed that additional land.

Talking about the communist led govt in Nepal, what adds to the incredulity of the entire situation is the sheer timing of the act of claiming Indian territory – right in the middle of a standoff with China that is ruled by fellow commies.

With both their VERY large neighbours involved in a serious conflict, any prudent govt might have thought of delaying raking up the issue.

But then, the key word here is ‘Prudent’.

With Comrade Oli and his credentials, I have no doubt that he was batting on behalf of his commie masters in Beijing who were only seeking to open up another front against India.

Yes, I call them Masters because that is what they are, rosy ‘ideals’ of communism notwithstanding. The Middle Kingdom considers NO ONE as an equal, least of all a small country like Nepal.

But whatever be the motive, now the deed is done. Suffice it to say, it cannot be undone by any future parliament of Nepal – which parliamentarian would vote to ‘give away’ territory to another country, huh?

I will come back to this thought in a while.

Leaving aside the fact that a loony commie is in charge of Nepal these days, let me delve on the traditional relationship between Nepal and its neighbours.

To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to try and get out of the shadow of a ‘big brother’ every once in a while. However, this time comrade Oli seems to have gone beyond all earlier norms by taking things beyond a point of no return – neither is India going to accept ceding of her territory to Nepal, nor is Nepal going to take back its claims on the land it now claims.

That it has come at a time when India-China tensions are at a peak and the Lipulekh Pass is a strategic gateway into Tibet only adds to the rising sentiments in India which also brings into question the impartiality of Nepal in this entire India-China fracas.

The road in question didn’t just appear overnight, btw!

But then, there is just no way that you can wake up someone who is merely pretending to be asleep, isn’t it?

That is a question that will never find a satisfactory answer for jilted Nepali brothers and sisters.

China definitely has far more money to throw around, especially as bribes to amenable politicians – The Aussie lawmaker whose properties have recently been raided by law enforcement agencies is just one of the many that has gotten exposed. WHO Chief too comes to mind.

To that end, I’ll just leave this screenshot doing rounds on Twitter, here.


Of course, it will be panned as fake.

I don’t mid that one bit!

What I am coming to is that China and Nepal can NEVER be what India and Nepal have been over millennia – bound by a common cultural and even familial ties.  Now add to that, the ties of blood that countless Gorkha brothers of Nepal have shed with fellow soldiers of the Indian Army.

I call it a ‘rishta’ of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.

This is a bond that has lasted through thick and thin for more than two centuries.

Even today, as per a newspaper report I came across some days ago, more than 30,000 Nepalese citizens continue to serve in the Indian Army. 

One thing that surely must have crossed the minds of the powers that be in New Delhi in recent weeks would have been their continued availability in case Nepal didn’t permit those on leave to rejoin in this moment of grave crisis on LAC, citing Coronavirus related lockdown. Heck, with Nepal still under lockdown, I’m not sure if the Indian soldiers out there have actually been able to rejoin their battalions or not.

This is potentially a really serious issue, with attendant repercussions on continued recruitment of Nepalese citizens in Indian Army.

I’m sure there will be atleast a few in Nepal who say they don’t want their fellow citizens to serve in another country’s army.

Logically, it is a fair demand as well.

But then, how might they employ the 30,000 odd citizens who might find themselves out of a job if that happens?

Add to that an average salary of approx INR 40K per month that would translate into INR 120 crore of remittance to Nepal every month, and repercussions are apparent.

Heck, there already are more than just a handful folks in Nepal already demanding cessation of Nepalese citizens joining IA. I’m sure none of them have given any thought to the economic impact to their own motherland in case this demand actually fructifies.

With a nominal GDP of $30Bn (source: wiki), I doubt the economic impact of such a thing actually fructifying will be easily bearable by Nepal.

Of course, I am not even talking about pensions to retired Indian soldiers of Nepalese origin who must be more than 1,50,000 in numbers.

Then there is the question of countless other Nepalese citizens travelling and working freely in India, thanks to treaty privileges.

Hope you get where I am getting to.

But thankfully, this is NOT going to happen anytime soon!

India-Nepal relations are different, much different than India’s relations with any of its other neighbours.

To be fair, it is natural for a small neighbour to play bigger neighbours against each other for its own benefit. In fact, Nepal is not the only Indian neighbour doing that.

In the larger scheme of things it hardly matters, so long as it doesn’t impact own national interests.

So much so, that not many know that Nepal is one of the VERY FEW countries of the world that actually provide VISA-FREE entry to Pakistanis! 

Yup, IC-814 hijackers too got logistical assistance from Kathmandu.

Sanctions imposed on Nepal in the aftermath were not very helpful to their economy either.

Yet the visa-free entry to Pakistan continues.

India never made a fuss about that.

Yet, fact remains that Nepal has also long been a preferred entry point into India by Pakistani terrorists.

Of course, this fact too is largely unknown.

But coming back to the India-Nepal border issue. The question now to be asked is how will Nepal enforce it.

Mind you, I ask this in all seriousness.

The area where Lipulekh lies is one of the remotest areas of Nepal. I doubt whether even a decent road exists out there.

But even that question is moot.

The biggest question is how does it get enforced without use of force?

You know why I ask this?

Because the day force is used by either side, it will be the end of a civilizational linkage spanning over millennia.

A linkage of Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.

Of course, Nepalese border guards recently killed a few Indian citizens in Bihar. Yet, the GOI sought to downplay the entire incident, hoping for better sense to prevail. Sad as it might be, that seems to be the only pragmatic way ahead if we need any chance of normalization.

But soon thereafter there were reports of Nepal moving additional forces in that area. This is in addition to the news that Nepal is planning to establish an army outpost towards Lipulekh as well!

Then there are bombastic statements by so many on Nepalese side about they enforcing their claims by use of military.

Well .. to them I’ll say .. be my guest.

But before that I’ll ask them a few questions.

The first question is – what happens after the first bullet is fired? Is there any realistic way in which they can claim that they’ll prevail? 

Yes, the Gorkhas make some of the best soldiers in the world. I have absolutely no doubts about that. It is a well deserved reputation, earned through much blood and toil.

But to say that they can just go an grab territory under Indian control is a bit .. well .. fantastical IMO.

But thankfully, this is something I don’t see happening. And thank God for that.

In any case, I find none of them having an answer to what happens elsewhere, in case bullets do start flying – status of Nepalese soldiers in IA, other Nepalese workers in India and such likes.

There is one more question I wish to ask of them, btw.

Are there any similar plans for retaking Nepalese territory currently in Chinese control?

Of course it took the commie govt of Kathmandu a really long time to even acknowledge this loss of territory and subsequently dismiss it as a fake news.

Well, you’ve made your bed.

And China is already occupying much of it.

But then, it is between Nepal and China, so I won’t comment on that any further.

Instead, what I wish to delve upon for a bit is to see how do we go back to a de-escalation of emotions from here.

All said and done, it would be a sad day indeed if the GOI ends up enforcing another blockade of Nepal.

Or if remittances / financial grants etc from India, that could be upto 10% of their nominal GDP, get affected.

Will China be able to provide economic opportunities to Nepalese citizens that India provides? Or a conduit to oil and other essential imports?

Or continue to provide opportunities to hoodwink the SAFTA as Oli and his ‘boys’ were caught doing recently by importing Malaysian palm oil after India stopped imports, and then re-selling it to India as ‘Nepalese’ palm oil?

Don’t believe me?


Bottomline – India has been a ‘Big Brother’ in the neighbourhood, no doubt.

That is a function of our geography that just cannot be wished away. But then, India has been a really benign Big Brother.

And this DESPITE the ENORMOUS leverages India holds.

Now compare that with China and how it treats its own neighbours.

Yes, the same China on whose tunes comrade Oli is dancing with reckless abandon.

To some extent, it is also a failure of Indian diplomacy that things have come to such a state. But then, the fact that comrade Oli is feeling threatened too is a natural outcome of the civilizational ties between India and Nepal re-asserting themselves.

Of course, even if he loses his job, it will be another member of the Nepalese Communist Party coming to power. But then, they have been in power earlier as well. ‘Prachanda’ has been in power in various avatars before. For all we know, he might end up coming back to power again.

But commie or not, I doubt he is as big a loonie as Comrade Oli.

However, even if that happens, thing remains that Nepal has CONSTITUTIONALLY adopted a new map.

This is a fact that just cannot be wished away.

This is something that can potentially be a lasting thorn in India-Nepal relations.

Might there be a way out of this mess that Oli has ended up creating?

The only option that comes to mind is for Nepal to go to the International Court of Justice or some such international forum to settle the issue either which way.

That apart, I don’t see any way out that might be acceptable to both sides. But it will be better to sort out this mess any which way possible, at the earliest. Once again, even if at the cost of repetition, I’ll say that civilizational ties cannot be wished away.

Nepalese economy is currently 100 times smaller than Indian economy. Over time, this discrepancy will only grow.

PERHAPS .. sometime in future Nepal might actually come into some form of a loose federation with India.

Remember, much of it was in any case a part of King Ashok’s empire more than two millennia ago. Terai region of Nepal itself continued in some form or another to be a part of a number of subsequent Indian kingdoms as well.

I know it is a flight of fancy, atleast for the time being.

But then, who knows ..

In any case, a China just cannot come to your aid the way India did after the recent earthquake. That’s because they are not only physically but also emotionally as far from Nepal as can be. 

Time to end this blog post.

Nepal is free to build new bridges. It is their inalienable right.

BUT, burning old bridges in the process is something that is bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially when the new bridges have not yet been tested fully.

All I’ll say in the end is a repetition of something I said a number of times before in this blog – Roti, Beti aur Lahoo.


On Hike Messenger – The China Owned ‘Indian’ App

So with the justifiably growing demands for moving on to Indian apps, amongst those being touted as Indian alternatives is the Hike Messenger.

Understandably, their creators are Indian.

But when I decided to did into them a bit, their wikipedia page gave a V.E.R.Y interesting piece of info about their ‘Indianness’ – Apparently, on 16 Aug 2016, just one day after the 69th anniversary of Indian independence, Hike got a 175 Million Dollar investment from a Tencent Group led grouping (India’s WhatsApp Rival Hike Raises $175M led by Tencent).

Now who is Tencent, I asked.

Once again Wikipedia came to the rescue!

Tencent is a Fcuking CHINESE company based out of Shenzen!



A Chinese company owns a substantial stake in an ‘Indian’ App!

What I did next on Wikipedia was to check out the owners of Tencent. Unsurprisingly, out came the name of Shri Ma Huateng.

Who’s Ma Huateng, you asked?

Well, he has a Wikipedia page too!

That page tells that he is a member of the Chinese Communist Party – a VERY SENIOR member at that. Heck, he is a part of the 12th National People’s Congress!


As far as the other co-founders go, not much is available as of now about them, but I’ll not be surprised if they too are linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

But for the time being, I’ll leave it.

And then there is another ‘beautiful’ thing about Tencent.



Yup, let that sink in a bit!

WeChat – the preferred social engineering tool of the Communist Party of China!

And they own a sizeable stake in ‘Indian’ Hike Messenger!

Interesting, no?

Yes, the same WeChat that DELETED all references to the Indian Prime Minister’s statement on the India China FaceOff from their platform!


Now tell me that Tencent will NOT be interfering in content management or such likes in Hike Messenger, and I’ll show you a white coloured marble building in Agra that I wish to sell!

Of course, there is also the ‘small’ issue of private data of the 10 million plus mostly Indian users who have installed this app, that can potentially be accessible to the Chinese Communist Party member owned Tencent. 

Chilling, I’ll say.


Hope you are able to see where I am going with this chain of thoughts.

If not, then let me shout it out for you – HIKE MESSENGER HAS A SUBSTANTIAL CHINESE FOOTPRINT.


At the very least, they are earning money from you and me and sending a chunk of it to China, thanks to the stake owned by the CCP member led Tencent.

So to all that are selling Hike as an Indian messenger app to me, I’ll say Thanks, but no thanks!

I’m not going to install an app that can potentially make available my personal data to a company owned by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Hence, I am betting on Chirrups App as an Indian alternative instead of Hike or such likes. If it succeeds, I’ll let go of all social media platforms that I’m using.


This is my recommendation for you all – I get good vibes from them.

Rest is your choice!

On The Galwan Face-off: PART II (Post the Prime Minister’s Address)

(These thoughts were shared on twitter last night. Putting them here for archival purposes)

Folks, moving on from THIS blog of last night to the developments that have taken place since, especially in light of what the Indian Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister said earlier today.

But first, let me take you back to yesterday afternoon. This news first broke at about 1:00 pm on 16 June 2020. Now that in itself is very interesting! The Govt of India chose to wait for nearly 16 hours to make the report of the incident public.

Now what might have gone on within those 16 hours is anybody’s guess – The GOI might have been trying to get a clear picture of what actually happened, or might have been working backchannels to prevent things from spiralling further .. It’s all open to speculation.

But then, there was one interesting news that also came about almost simultaneously with the story breaking – that the Indian authorities will do a formal briefing at 2:00pm.

Heck, I had to pend my lunch break, waiting for that briefing.!

Alas, it never came!

Somehow, instead of being disappointed, I was reminded of a similar press conference from last year that too got postponed for reasons unknown!


(Here is the link to the blog post in which that thread was archived – Thoughts on the Balakot Strike: Part III – The Tri-Services Presser in New Delhi)

And true to that intuition, soon thereafter came a couple of tweets from China – thru Shri Hu Xijin, as well as the Global Times, acknowledging the ‘violent’ faceoff, but surprisingly, also acknowledging that the Chinese side too had suffered casualties!

Now this was really interesting.

You know why interesting?

Because till that time ,the GOI themselves had not said anything about casualties on the Chinese side.

To top it up, Shri Hu also seemed a bit ‘subdued’ from his characteristic bombast of recent days – calling for sanity to prevail, of all things!

Feel free to disagree, but to me it sounds like a plea not to escalate things any further.

Ok, ‘plea’ might be something that some folks may not agree with, so let me call it a ‘request’ instead.

Bottomline – The Chinese were not prepared for this magnitude of casualties on both sides. The very fact that they agreed to casualties on the PLA side and also said that they wouldn’t want to disclose their numbers, said as much.

They were willing to engage India towards de-escalation.

Ultimately, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs gave out an official statement in the evening.


It was clear that the Chinese were unwilling to listen to reason. The MEA chose to lay the blame squarely on China. This was also the first official statement from India saying that the PLA too suffered casualties, btw.

Mind you, in the middle of it, social media ‘warriors’ (myself included!) had gone ballistic at the sheer magnitude of casualties suffered by own side.

Let it suffice to say that this ‘violent’ faceoff has been far too ‘spectacular’ to simply wish away.

It just cannot be.


Once again, let me draw an analogy with the Pulwama Attack of last year. This one too is not much different from that attack.


(Here’s the link to the blog post in which above thought was archived – ON THE PULWAMA ATTACK)

The sheer anger that it has generated means that the GOI simply cannot NOT retaliate.

Not retaliating would not only dent the image of the Nation, but also be political suicide for the Govt of the day. Heck, the ghost of 1962 still hangs around the neck of the then Prime Minister. So no, it wasn’t a surprise that the Prime Minister said what he said in his address to the Nation in light of the loss of own troops.

His words were poignant and loaded with meaning.

The Prime Minister himself saying those words means that the back-channels that back-channels to seek any mutually agreed way out of this mess have failed.

Of course, as I said before, it is far too big to ignore altogether.

Right on cue, the Chinese Foreign Minister called up the Indian EAM soon thereafter!

Of course, a hardened Indian stand doesn’t suit the Chinese plan of just browbeating the Indian Army without having to actually fight them man to man, right?

This is what I wrote in my previous blog (linked in first para of this blog)


The subsequent statement of the Indian External Affairs Minister too made the Indian stance abundantly clear – there is no way this latest provocation from China will be left unpunished.

Unsurprisingly, the Global Times once again recommenced its campaign of ‘terrorizing’ India with ‘jazzy’ videos of PLA troops simulating battle practice under controlled conditions!

Yup, V.E.R.Y professionally made videos.

But a ‘photogenic’ army and an effective army are two very different things, no?

Wrote a blog on that some years ago. Do read – People’s Liberation Army – A History of ‘Valour’

But then, the big question is – WHAT COMES NEXT?

This is what I wish to devote some time on, hereafter.

One thing is for sure – the way the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister have spoken, something will most likely happen – something very visible.

The earliest that we may see some announcement is 19 June when the all party meet shall take place. At the very least, I feel there is some sort of economic retaliation coming up against China. Let me delve on that for a moment, before moving ahead.

India’s trade deficit with China is more than $50Bn, despite all assurances by China to try and redress this imbalance. So economic retaliation does make a lot of sense. After all, China stands to lose much much more than India.

But then, this is NOT what I am getting at.

What I am more interested in, is how China takes economic sanctions from India, if it actually happens!

How they react will be really interesting to see, even if Indian sanctions are merely pinpricks compared to what the USA is doing to them!

Would the manic ego of the Chinese comrades permit them to swallow such ‘humiliation’ at the hands of an ‘uppity’ India?

With the USA, it can still be justified – it gives them a sense of having ‘arrived’, when the sole superpower is fighting an economic war with them.

But, India?

Herein lies a challenge as well.

Will this induce China to mellow down their military stand on the LAC?

I’d say No.

The sheer ego of the commies that occupy Tibet will prevent them from accepting such ‘humiliation’, that too at the hands of a supposedly ‘inferior’ neighbour.

So no, do NOT expect China to ever let go of their claims over the Galwan area by such no-kinetic means. They won’t  back-off just like that. In fact, economic measures might actually exacerbate the military situation on the LAC.

So, how might that pan out?

Well, first thing first – Til the time the LAC provocations were limited to face-offs and fists and kicks, it didn’t really matter how many troops were amassed behind, so long as you could maintain numerical superiority at the point of face-off itself.

However, in case the guns start booming, this won’t be the case.

In such a scenario, a LOT will depend upon how many troops can China build up opposite Ladakh. What also has a bearing on this is how many troops can China actually spare for this contingency, given the mess they have created on all other borders.

Remember, there are THREE aircraft carrier of the US Navy patrolling the South China Sea and thereabouts!

So coming back to Ladakh – Can they build up numerical superiority to actually militarily enforce their claims?

And then comes the question of how much numerical superiority is considered enough. Remember, the Indian EAM said it was a pre-meditated attack by China on the night of 15 June. YET, the PLA suffered fatal and non-fatal casualties to the tune of 40+.

Some ‘pre-meditation’, this, huh?

Now let me further spice things up a bit.

What is to say that a military clash, IF it comes, will stay localized to Ladakh?

I am surprised that no one is yet talking about this, atleast none that I came across on my TL.

When it comes to China, a LOT of historical wrongs are long pending to be righted. That includes the case of Coco Islands as well, doesn’t it?


Feel free to mull over it for a moment before moving ahead.

To sum it up, escalation is very easy to achieve. Heck, the Chinese have just given us a beautiful example of that in the Galwan River area over the past few days and weeks.

But then, when it comes to de-escalation things are not so simple. Especially when you DON’T want to ‘lose face’.

And herein lies a huge challenge.

Especially when there has been such a grave provocation.

Will the Chinese agree to de-escalation wherein India gets even a ‘notion of victory’?

I’d say, No.

They won’t.

They CAN’T.

The CCP will simply HAVE to be ‘victorious’, whatever the case may be.

Such is the nature of communist regimes.

They just cannot be seen to be weak.

So brace yourselves, folks. The coming days promise to be really interesting indeed, to say the least. Indian retaliation may or may not come tomorrow, or the day after, or even next week. But come it surely will.

The first steps are likely to be economic. Military steps, much needed, if they indeed happen, might come later.

The Post-COVID world that I talked about a couple months ago seems to be shaping out just as I thought it would. This blog might be worth a relook at this point in time – The Post COVID-19 World

The above blog was followed by another one, talking specifically about India-China relationship in context of Taiwan. Do read it as well – India-Taiwan Relationship: Time for a Reset?

If you think an India-China war is coming, well let me break some news to you – It has already started when the PLA came into Galwan with intentions to stay, instead of leaving.

The thing is that the wheels of history seem to be moving faster and faster with each passing day.

A lot of changes are likely to come by very soon, including possibly in national boundaries.

Brace yourselves; it will be nothing short of a roller-coaster ride!

In the end, I’ll just leave this statement here:

 26 dynasties have ruled China over the past 22 centuries. CCP is just the 27th, and just about past the average the average lifetime of such dynasties.

On the Galwan Face-Off of 15 June 2020

(These thoughts were tweeted before the official statement from the MEA was released)

You know what is the most significant statement about current state of the #ChinaIndiaFaceoff?

Well, it is the LACK of a statement thus far by GOI.

What this tells me is that the situation is still developing. It might go downhill still, or might get resolved. Wait & watch how it pans out.

On the other hand, the Chinese govt has gone public about the incident with their spokesperson, Lijian Zhao, as well as the Global Times and Hu Xijin.

Does it say something?

I can’t be sure, but in it might lie some messaging as well.

From what is known in public domain, it might merely be an unfortunate face-off where both sides came face to face in the night time. Mind you, this is NOT a routine thing, going by previous templates of such engagements which have thus far, only been reported in daytime.

It might just be an unfortunate incident.

After all, despite all safety protocols, at the end of the day it is one body of hundreds of INDIVIDUAL human being interacting with another such body. I did speculate about that in my previous blog – On the Ladakh Standoff Between Indian and China



Might it be a pre-meditated escalation?
Not very far fetched, I’d say.

In case it be so, which side might have triggered it might be a question which may never get answered, atleast for the foreseeable future.

That is why I am, for the time being, waiting for an official word from the GOI. This is what might give an insight into the current state of affairs and likely future courses that the GOI might be contemplating.

In any case, ‘quasi-official’ sources of various influencers on social media are already in the process of divulging details in bits and pieces. Whom to believe, and whom to dismiss is solely your prerogative.

Facts, atleast as far as the number of fatalities goes, WILL emerge, since the GOI does not hide those. Numbers of non-fatal casualties may or may not be known, though. However, in any case, even in current absence of absolute facts, one this is clear – THINGS AREN’T NORMAL ANYMORE.

Where we go from here, is anybody’s guess.

In any case, what has happened, was inevitable, in my opinion.

Of course, time and circumstances under which it has happened does tend to catch one unawares. However, keeping aside the flood of emotions and anger coursing through the veins, it should rather be taken as a blessing that of the dozens of times that hundreds of troops from both sides have engaged in physical scuffling on the LAC, lives haven’t been lost much earlier.

Small mercies, huh?

After all, which two armies fight each other this way – with fists and kicks?

We should just be thankful that it is only now that things have deteriorated to this extent.

However, coming back to what I said earlier – the inevitability of it all.

As India rises to reclaim its rightful place in the larger scheme of things, increasing friction with China is inevitable. I wrote a blog on it some years ago – China & India – Together Ahead?. Do read before moving ahead.

Bottomline – A clash / conflict with China is a matter of ‘When’, not ‘If’.

Are we seeing the beginning of it?

I’d say YES.

Like it or not, it is unavoidable. At best we may kick the can a few years down the line as we build our capacities. In fact, we’ve already been doing that for some years now. Whether or not we as a Nation want it, fact is that it is coming.

Maybe tomorrow.

Or maybe a few years down the line.

Mind you, the NathuLa clash of 1967 too commenced with a Commanding Officer getting injured in firing by the PLA. Over here, it seems one Commanding Officer has actually died under circumstances that are still not very clear.

Seen in the larger scheme of things, it could also be China lashing out wherever it can, given the immense pressures they are under, thanks to their role in the possible creation and of course, the spread of the virus that resulted in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

However, that doesn’t give them a free pass to kill my soldiers.

No Way.

At the cost of repetition, I’ll once again say that the GOI will simply HAVE to react aggressively, given their reputation from past years and consequent expectations from the Nation.

What form that takes, needs to be seen.

If played well, then hindsight will tell us that this incident was just the trigger needed to ‘formally’ reset our relationship with China from the current ‘accommodative’ stand to something more natural – Adversarial, or at best, neutral.

Remember, Balakot came nearly two weeks after Pulwama. Over here, time and tenor of retribution may take a bit longer. At the very least, I see a strike on Chinese economic interests in India.

At the other end of the spectrum lies a military escalation.

For some time, cast aside your emotions and see it in the light of the US-China spat and the upcoming US Presidential elections.

For all we know, it will end up strengthening our own hand against the Chinese in a much shorter timespan than otherwise possible.

China already has her hands full across all its borders – Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, SCS, Korea – you name it and there is something or the other going on.

And then there are reports of three US Aircraft Carriers in or near the South China Sea.

Of course, I see all this  as pieces falling into place in one high stakes game of Wei Qi. 

Coming back to the Himalayas, China may have relative advantage on the LAC till such time that things are kept below a boiling point – With weapons secured behind the backs, they needn’t worry about long lines of logistics, right?

Given the fact that PLA has its hands full in other theatres as well, it is really doubtful how they can prevail on the LAC except in a handful of areas in case of a larger conflict.

Herein lies an opportunity, today or maybe a few months down the line, to regain the moral and tactical upper hand on the LAC.

Let me conclude this chain of thoughts with a simple statement – the Indian Armed Forces will do whatever the GOI tells them to do, and they will do it perfectly.

If the GOI tells them to keep their rifles slung behind their backs, this is exactly what they will do.

On the other hand, if the GOI tells them to point them across the LAC, they WILL ensure that the PLA doesn’t know what hit them.

What we usually see are figures of a 2 million strong PLA, or three divisions of PLA entering Tibet. What we often overlook is how many troops the Indian Army can bring to the same battlefield.

Mind you, I am not even talking about the other two services – the IAF and the Indian Navy.

Food for thought, right?

In the end, all I’ll say is that it might be worth waiting for a day or two in order to see how things are likely to progress.

Remember, the Chinese can come in whenever and wherever they want to. 


Escalation control thereafter lies with India as to how it reacts.

We’ve seen it in Doklam. Let us see what happens this time round.

A civilizational clash between India and China was written by fate the moment the first PLA soldier set his foot in Tibet in 1950. We might just be witnessing the unfolding of the endgame in the coming days, months and years.


Oh, btw, how many of your remember the Finance Ministry asking sometime in 2013 whether the threat from China will still remain five years down the line, when asked for funds for additional troops for the LAC?


I guess that question just got answered.

On the Ladakh Standoff Between Indian and China

(This chain of thoughts was tweeted by me on 01 June 2020. Plugging it here for archival purposes)


This tweet above and the video embedded therein generated quite a bit of ‘excitement’ on my twitter Timeline. So I thought I’d share some thoughts on the current snafu on the LAC.
But before moving ahead, let me offer a disclaimer. I don’t intend to go into the specifics of the alignment of the LAC between the two countries. Enough has already been said on that, by the doomsday walas as well as the ‘All is Well’ walas.
Instead, what I intend to talk about is my thoughts on the fairly regular ‘interaction’ between the two militaries on the LAC, one aspect of which is depicted in the video above. Do watch it before reading ahead in this blog post, if not watched already. Here it is –
That there is a dispute, is undeniable.
But then, what exactly is this dispute that we keep hearing about?
Well, to put it simply – the two sides do not agree as to where the LAC lies in a few sectors – thus what is called ‘Claim Lines’, wherein both sides feel that the other side claims ‘their’ land. THIS is the ‘difference in perception’ that the Raksha Mantri talked about some time ago.
With both sides keen to retain their claims, patrolling parties inevitably ‘cross over’ into areas claimed to be theirs by the opposing side.
Hence the occasional video / photograph of both sides engaged in shoving and jostling with each other.
This is the ‘normal’ interaction between the Indian Army and the PLA.
Sharing some photographs to put things in correct perspective before moving ahead with my observations.
Here is a video as well, for those interested. Do watch it, atleast partially before moving ahead, since it has a bearing on what in intend writing further.

Did you notice something?


Did you see a difference from the way the Indian Army ‘interacts’ with the Packies across the LoC? Here is a video of one such ‘interaction’ that I am talking about –


The LAC too is disputed. But we don’t see such videos over there, right?

Once again, refer back to the photos & the video of IA and  PLA shared above.
Did you see that both sides are carrying their weapons?
Yet they choose NOT to use them and instead, keep them slung behind their backs?
BOTH sides follow this rule religiously. Ever wondered why?
Could it be due to an understanding – formal or informal – of NOT escalating things beyond a certain point?
I’d say YES.
Both sides are content to raise banners to inform the other of transgression into their claimed areas, which might of course, overlap with the other side’s claim.
This, folks, is the ‘routine’ interaction on the LAC.
Why I use the word ‘routine’?
Because visuals from Doklam days and this current video posted in the first part of this blog indicate that when things are NOT normal, they usually don’t even carry weapons!
Don’t believe me?
Just watch the video in the beginning of this blog post and search for any weapon apart from sticks!
Or this video below from Doklam days in which the only ‘shooting’ being done is from cameras. Once again, no rifles!
The thing is, despite all sorts of provocations at higher echelons, the interaction on the ground between both armies is diligently kept below a level that might cause grievous bodily harm to anyone from the other side.
Bottomline: NONE seek escalation beyond a point.
So what about all those reports of a buildup of ‘tens of thousands of troops’ behind the area of the current standoff?
Well, didn’t we hear the same during the Doklam days?
Oh, and talking about Doklam, that standoff lasted nearly 2.5 months whereas this one is less than a month old!
Mind you, I am not saying that this too will follow the same template as in Doklam.
Things might still go downhill. It is about whether both govts can come up with a via media wherein a de-escalation can be ‘sold’ to domestic audiences as a ‘victory’ by boths sides, real or imagined.
It is HERE that the current issue lies.
Like it or not, the release of the video of the Chinese boy captured by the Indian troopers and the counter visuals of Indian troops in Chinese hands do not help the cause.
Is it a cause for worry, though?
Of course, it is.
But not for reasons we might think.
In a far-fetched contingency, in case guns do start booming, will such scenarios matter?
No Way!
First of all, the last time that guns boomed on the LAC was in Sep-Oct 1967, i.e. more than half a century ago. And unsurprisingly, it was the Chinese that came second best!
For those who aren’t aware, just google for Chola and Nathula clashes.
Yet, we remain fixated with 1962, not realizing that there too, wherever he was led well, the Indian soldier stood like a ROCK in the path of Chinese hordes, making them pay dearly with their blood for every inch of territory they gained.

But is it to say that this current standoff too will degenerate further in to a shooting match?Well, thus far, I’ve seen both sides exercise enough caution to indicate that they are not really interested in that. (Once again, I’m NOT going to talk about merits / demerits of that)

However, at the end of the day, despite all policies and agreements on that account, it remains the soldiers on the ground who are ultimately entrusted with ensuring that it remains thus.
What is to say that in the heat of the moment, a Jat, or a Sikh, or a Gorkha, or any other soldier of the Indian Army, or for that matter, one from the PLA will NOT end up losing his cool and end up initiating a chain of events that may potentially take the entire situation downhill?
Remember, the Chola clash of 1967 started not with a rifle being fired, but a Khukri being flashed, resulting in a Chinese sentry losing his arm to a Gorkha soldier of 7/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.
As I’ve said before, human element plays a big role.
It is here that the military leadership at lower levels assumes paramount importance. To that end, hats off indeed to the immense maturity displayed by the young Indian commander in the video at the beginning of this blog post, in ensuring that the captured PLA boy doesn’t come to more harm at the hands of his men.
But then, what exactly happens in case situation deteriorates and guns actually end up opening up again on the LAC after nearly 53 years?
First of all, all those beautifully pitched tents of the PLA being shared as photographic evidence will be up in smoke for sure! Satellite imagery works both ways, no?
In any case, this is very nearly the same area where TWO Param Vir Chakras were earned by the Indian Army in 1962 – by Major Dhan Singh Thapa and Major Shaitan Singh – both extracting the lives of thousands of PLA troops in the process.
But can today’s PLA afford the same tactics? Especially with One Child Policy and their recruitment base comprising entirely of ‘Little Emperors’ who are used to a cushy lifestyle? How will they live in Ladakh without their oxygenated tents? Do read this  – Chinese army is full of wimps, sissies & little emperors. We are not saying this. This is what China thinks
But then, the above can surely be dismissed as a merely academic point of view and not truly reflective of their fighting capabilities, right?
Well, of course!
But fact remains that the last PLA soldier to fire in anger at an enemy was way back in 1979 during their invasion of Vietnam where they went to ‘teach Vietnam a lesson’.
But it was they who ended up getting ‘taught’, that too when a large chunk of the Vietnamese Army was employed in Cambodia at that time, fighting the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime!
But that too was more than four decades ago, so it may not hold true today, right?
Well, the last time the PLA troops came under fire was as late as 2015 in South Sudan. But then, instead of putting up a fight, they chose to RUN AWAY!
I wrote a short blog post about that some years ago. MUST read – People’s Liberation Army – Calling the Bluff
As a follow-up of that incident, I came across the account of the battle by the Indian company commander who pulled PLA nuts out of fire. He says that when he asked the PLA commander as to why they abandoned their post, the answer was ‘Because it was not safe out there.’
Yes, this was a commander in a professional, well equipped army, talking about a situation created by a rag-tag militia in South Sudan!
Here is the blog post that chronicles that exchange. A lot of interesting nuggets of information in that as well – People’s Liberation Army – Calling The Bluff (Part II)
But coming back to the current standoff, that we (as well as the Chinese) choose not to escalate and instead, seek diplomatic solution instead of military escalation. It is not a reflection of the professionalism of the Indian Army, but instead, a well considered decision of the Govt of India.
And dare I say, the Govt of India doesn’t choose this option from a position of weakness, but from one of strength, with full confidence in its army to deliver on whatever directions it gets. Doklam is a very recent example of this.
Cant’ say the same for the PLA, though, given their performance under fire in South Sudan. Till such time the rifles are slung behind the backs on the LAC, no side has a relative advantage. But in a scenario when this no longer holds, the Indian Army is well capable of ‘surprising’ the hubristic PLA.
An India-China showdown is inevitable, given that both are jostling for the same geopolitical space.
But that is not to say that it will happen right now!
It will happen when it happens.
This blog post chronicles my views on this aspect as well – China & India – Together Ahead?
As for the current standoff, I’ll just leave THIS piece here. Make your own assumptions.
Oh, and talking about ‘Little Emperors’ that make up the PLA soldiers, HERE is another piece that first came to my notice some years ago. Worth a read.
To conclude, those predicting doomsday for the Motherland would be well advised to take a swig of their favourite alcoholic beverage in order to calm their nerves. An escalation may or may not happen, but even if it does, trust your army to deliver!
In the end, let me share some thoughts that I blogged when the Doklam crisis was still ‘hot’. Similarities with the current one might still emerge. Here it is – Doklam Standoff: Thoughts on the Endgame