On Tuesday, the world watched images of Chinese PLA troops dismantling their bunkers, structures and tents, breaking roads and destroying the helipad that they had built last year near Pangong Tso in Ladakh. These images will surely warm the cockles of the heart of every Indian, who surely take pride in the valour of their army. These images signify the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic and strategic initiatives in forcing a world power like China to withdraw its troops near Line of Actual Control.
The Indian army is keeping a watchful eye on the disengagement process. According to defence sources, between finger 4 and 8, the Chinese army has so far withdrawn 1,000 troops, 150 infantry combat vehicles, 100 tents and 120 Sangars (temporary bunkers) on mountain ridges, and an anti-aircraft regiment. Also, 362 and 363 border guard regiment troops have been moved back by the Chinese army. 6 Motorized Division of PLA cleared all their logistics and it is expected that the April status quo ante will return in the next five days.
At Rechen La, the Chinese PLA has withdrawn 600-700 troops, 150 infantry combat vehicles, 3 tanks regiments comprising 120 tanks, troops of 2 anti-aircraft regiments alongwith their 10 radar sets, pre-fabricated tents and 10 logistic stations. Weapons and ammunition storage dumps have also been removed by the Chinese. More than 1,000 Chinese troops belonging to 4 Highland Motorized Infantry Division, 11 and 12 Motorized Infantry Regiments have been moved back..
The disengagement process is being monitored by the Indian army with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), videography, digital mapping and physical verification. On its part, China has also shared images of its troop withdrawal to convince the world that it desires peace. These images project a new India that is emerging from the recent past. A new India, which uses its economic and diplomatic power combined with its military might to force a superpower to withdraw its troops.
The entire world views China as an expansionist power which refuses to vacate territories that it occupies, whether it is in South Asia or the South China Sea. The disengagement in Ladakh underlines India’s strong will power, its military might and focused eco-strategic diplomacy, backed by a strong leadership. This has happened for the first time in the last 50 years. The PLA that had promised to vacate these occupied areas within 14 days, has withdrawn its troops and weapons within a short span of four days at a surprising speed, bewildering military observers. The long wait, since the last nine months has ended for every Indian who wanted to see the Chinese troops leaving.
These images must be watched by those critics of Narendra Modi who had been raising hell over the issue of troops withdrawal. These leaders had questioned Modi’s ‘neeyat’ (intention). Rahul Gandhi, in particular, must watch these images. Four days ago, he had hurled insults like ‘coward’ at Narendra Modi at his press conference. Rahul had then alleged that Modi ‘feared’ the Chinese and he has ‘ceded Indian territory’ to China. Will Rahul now say that the images are fake, and the cameras are lying ?
Till now, we had seen situations in which China used to test India’s patience. For the first time, India has broken China’s patience and forced it to withdraw its troops. India has broken China’s arrogance and intransigence. That is why you see Chinese troops breaking their own bunkers that they had built on Indian territory. Did anybody imagine till last month that the Chinese would withdraw their troops, break their bunkers and destroy their helipad in the face of India’s combined use of economic, diplomatic and strategic pressures.
Not only at the LAC, but on the seas near to the Chinese coast, India achieved success when two ships M.V. Jag Anand and M.V. Anastasia carrying 39 Indian sailors returned home on Tuesday after virtually becoming kept under detention inside their ships for more than six months by the Chinese authorities. This is not sheer coincidence but the success of India’s tactical use of economic and diplomatic power.
The return of these sailors was possible due to consistent and combined efforts by the office of Prime Minister Modi, Ministry of External Affairs and Shipping Ministry. After landing on Indian soil, these sailors said they were very much grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These sailors were confined to their ships, could not land on Chinese soil, and were shivering in minus 3 deg Celsius on sea, The Chinese authorities refused to allow them to leave, did not provide them medicines and doctors. The shipping companies even offered to replace these sailors and bring back the goods they were supposed to unload, but the Chinese authorities did not allow.
I consider the return of these sailors as a victory for Indian diplomacy. I remember the words that Narendra Modi sent when I interviewed him during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Modi had then said: “Main na to kisi se nazar jhuka kar baat karoonga, na kisi se nazar utha kar baat karonga, main nazar mila kar baat karoonga” (I will speak to world leaders on an equal footing, by looking into their eyes, not by looking up, nor by lowering my eyes). Therein lies the key to a new India, a strong India and an India that cannot be taken for granted by others.WATCH AAJ KI BAAT:
Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9 PM
India’s Number One and the most followed Super Prime Time News Show ‘Aaj Ki Baat – Rajat Sharma Ke Saath was launched just before the 2014 General Elections. Since its inception, the show is redefining India’s super-prime time and is numerically far ahead of its contemporaries.