NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to issue a suo motu statement in both houses of Parliament on Tuesday on the simmering India-China border row. This will be the Modi Government’s first official statement over the persisting standoff along the LAC.
The government feels obliged to make a statement in view of the repeated transgressions by the People's Liberation Army at Pangong Lake and several other areas in Ladakh since April. The Opposition, in turn, has lost no opportunity to put the government in the pillory.
The situation on the ground in eastern Ladakh is unchanged and there have been no withdrawals; in fact reports are emanating which suggest Chinese are preparing for a long haul in the Siberian winter that awaits them in the region. The latter viewpoint is reinforced by media reports which say that Chinese troops are laying a network of optical fibre cables south of Pangong Lake.
Such cables, which would provide forward troops with secure lines of communication to bases in the rear, have recently been spotted to the south of the lake, a senior government official was cited as saying by wire agency Reuters. ‘‘Right now our biggest worry is that they are laying optical fibre cables on the southern bank at breakneck speed," he said.
Authorities were alerted to such activity after satellite imagery showed unusual lines in the sand of the high-altitude deserts to the south of Pangong Tso.
Optical fibre cables offer communications security as well as the ability to send data such as pictures and documents. "If you speak on radio, you can get caught. But communications on optical fibre cables is secure," the official explained. The Indian military, however, still depends on radio communications, although it was encrypted.
According to yet another media report, of late the internet is swamped with hundreds of images and videos showing Chinese military drills in the Tibet region. With a production quality that can even put action movie directors to shame, these videos are part of the PLA’s strategy to intimidate the enemy.
The report in India Today says that apart from addressing the concerns of the domestic constituency in China, the prime purpose of such propaganda videos could be to create a larger-than-life image of the Chinese armed forces, which remain fairly inexperienced in terms of real battle situations.