Is Galwan face-off intended to keep us distracted?  
REUTERS

China is a master of guile and deceit: In 1962, too, emotions were charged over the Chinese incursion in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh – the venue of the recent violent standoff.

But curiously, the Chinese, in 1962, having diverted our attention by its action in the Galwan Valley, attacked India three months later and annexed Aksai Chin, an area of far greater strategic significance. (Ref: Rediff.com).

Interestingly, after the 1962 conflict, the Galwan sector remained dormant till the recent face-offs. Is Galwan again a red herring?

Because just when China is playing out the diplomatic charade of disengagement, there are reports of fresh mobilisation and the PLA trying to open a fresh front in Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and Depsang Sectors.

India Today’s news portal has satellite data which confirms heightened Chinese activity east of DBO. The magazine also has exclusive input which suggests that the attempts by the PLA to block Indian contingents in Daulat Beg Oldi area between patrolling points 10 and 13 suggests that they want to control areas near the Karakoram Pass which is the gateway to the economic corridor to Pakistan.

The Indian challenge in the region has become more formidable with the construction of the 255-km long Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie all-weather road. Running almost parallel to the LAC, this road meanders through elevations ranging between 13,000 feet and 16,000 feet and marks the critical Indian presence on the Aksai Chin plateau which otherwise is mostly controlled by the Chinese. Once complete, the road will reduce the travel time from Leh to DBO from two days to just six hours. 

No wonder, India has good reason to be concerned about the Chinese build-up along the Galwan valley as it is a direct threat to the DSDBO road. There was a tacit acknowledgement of this challenge when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently said that a “large numbers” of Chinese troops had massed along the LAC, and had “come a little further than they used to earlier”, making the situation “different” this time from earlier incidents.

Usually, Chinese forays are localised bus this time to confuse the Indians, these incursions were reported April onwards in multiple areas -- the Fingers region on the banks of the Pangong Lake, the Hot Springs area (near an Army post), the Galwan Valley, and the Depsang Plains further to the North. (This news report has been compiled by the FPJ Desk)

FRESH CONSTRUCTION

In the midst of the disengagement charade that China is playing out across the negotiation table with Indian commanders, high resolution satellite images have surfaced which show the presence of Chinese structures on both sides of the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan river valley.

Earlier satellite images of May 22 showed merely a single tent at this spot, it is pointed out. But now there is a clear movement of heavy vehicles, which indicates that the Chinese intend to stay put in the area. The Army and the Ministry of External Affairs were yet to respond to the queries of the TV channel. "We are looking into it," was the cryptic response. ''These appear to be defensive formations on our side of the Line of Actual Control,'' Major General Ramesh Padhi, one of India's foremost cartographers who retired as Additional Surveyor General of India, told the channel. The images also show, for the first time, culverts constructed over the Galwan River, less than a kilometre from the LAC. The water of the river was initially stopped and later diverted under the culverts. Also, the road leading up to the LAC has been widened substantially with the use of heavy earth moving equipment.

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