India-China relations, a year after Galwan

  • IASbaba
  • June 15, 2021
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  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations 
  • GS-3: Challenges in managing the borders

India-China relations, a year after Galwan

Context: Defence Minister on June 12 approved a revised policy on how India compiles, archives and disseminates its war documents and related history.

As per the new policy, 

  • Once an operation/war is completed, the first cut of history is to be prepared and disseminated for internal circulation within five years. 
  • Whether this first draft of history is to be placed in the public domain or not, will be determined on a case by case basis, depending on the sensitivity of the operation/war.
  • Predictably, the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report relating to the 1962 war with China, which is still under wraps, will not be part of the new policy. Apparently, another committee will take a view on previous wars.

A year after Galwan Incident

Carefully shaped narratives about the military defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity are crucial for any political leadership — authoritarian or democratic — and Galwan has special salience for both China and India.

  • India has interpreted Galwan as a case of Chinese aggressiveness and places the onus on Beijing to restore the status quo.
  • In China, the incident is being projected as a case of guarding the border and defending the motherland. The incident has been used to stoke pride in military and muscular nationalism domestically.
  • India’s narrative about Galwan remains opaque and there has been no detailed official statement from the Ministry of Defence on the current tactical situation in Ladakh.

Way Ahead

  • The Galwan anniversary should encourage the government to set up an independent panel of experts to review the institutional lapses that led to an altered LoAC in the Ladakh sector.
  • Concurrently, Delhi will need to objectively review and anticipate what the PLA may embark upon next.
  • The incident should encourage government to craft affordable and effective long-term strategic/security policies that are not clouded by political compulsions.

Connecting the dots:

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