Indian troops crossed the Line of Actual Control (LCA) 1,581 times in 2019, Hu Shisheng, Director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations has said, according to a new report by Institut Montaigne, a think tank based in Paris.
Hu Shisheng says 94 per cent of these alleged intrusions took place in the western sector of the India-China frontier (much of which lies in Ladakh), Mathieu Duchatel, Director of the Asia Program at Institut Montaigne, writes in his article in the report.
“The source of that number is not provided,” Duchatel adds.
Last week, General V K Singh, former Indian Army chief and current Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, had claimed that Indian border troops cross the LAC more than their Chinese counterparts.
“…none of you come to know how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. We don’t announce it,” Singh said.
“Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times, as per our perception,” he had claimed.
In his piece, Duchatel gives an overview of how Chinese security and foreign policy experts have looked at the ongoing border crisis with India.
“Not surprisingly, the main narrative in China regarding the origins of the clashes is to put the blame on India,” Duchatel writes, adding, “ The red thread running through Chinese analyses is to argue that Indian behavior has forced China to abandon its longstanding practice of self-restraint in managing the disputed border.”
According to him, Chinese experts have not given “detailed chronology of events” but have levelled two specific accusations at Indian troops.
First, Hu Shisheng says that the recklessness of an Indian commander was responsible for the Galwan Valley clashes in June last year. Second, Lin Minwang, professor at the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, says the Indian counteroffensive against China in August last year helped India gain control of some heights in the area and was aimed at gaining leverage in the ongoing talks.
“But the main Chinese point is in fact more general: blaming an overall aggressive Indian posture on the border,” Duchatel writes.
Most Chinese experts also use the US-India relations in explaining tensions along the LAC. “What is going away, according to Su Jingxiang (a fellow of China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations), is India’s tradition of neutrality and non-alignment. India is becoming — of its own free will — a “frontline country” in the emerging “anti-China alliance” built by the United States,” Duchatel adds.
A Chinese expert named Yang Siling suggests India sees the Galwan Valley as a gateway to Aksai Chin. “Liu Zongyi is less categoric — he sees India taking advantage of strategic cooperation with the United States and aiming to revise the existing Line of Actual Control , but India’s specific operational goals are left to speculate,” writes Duchatel.
“The collection of Chinese views analyzed for this piece suggests that Chinese actions are determined by a macro view of relations with India, and ultimately aim at affecting great power competition with the United States,” he says in conclusion.
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