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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

Old 20th Jun 2020, 09:15
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https://thewire.in/security/chinas-g...e-lac-westward

China's Galwan Valley Claim is Attempt to Extend Official Claim Line, LAC Westward



At no point in the past has China laid claim to the entire Galwan Valley, a sliver of flat land abutted by steep gorges through which the Galwan river flows and enters the Shyok river, and the maps Beijing has itself published in the past show its claim line stopping short of the confluence. Earlier this week, however, in the wake of bloody clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and China too suffered an unknown number of casualties, both the Peoples Liberation Army and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing have described the Galwan Valley as part of China’s territory.

The Galwan river is named after Ghulam Rassul Galwan, a Ladakhi adventurer who accompanied many European explorers in the region at the turn of the 19th century. According to Ladakhi history the Galwan Nullah was named so by British geologists after he discovered a passage through what seemed like an impenetrable set of gorges. Over the years, the status of the Galwan Valley has changed and, if the recent developments are to be taken into account, it is still changing.

Commenting on the incident of July 15, the official spokesman of the Western Theatre Command of the PLA, Zhang Shuili, accused the Indian side of “deliberately launching a provocative attack” and he went on to add that “the sovereignty of the Galwan Valley has always belonged to China.”

India, of course, disagrees with this claim....................

Since 1993, both India and China have maintained the fiction of a “Line of Actual Control” in the area, which was all right till the other day. Suddenly the Chinese have decided that the entire Galwan Valley is part of their territory.

The Chinese goal now seems to be to establish their boundary along the Shyok river, as it seems to be to push forward and control all of the north bank of Pangong Lake constraining Indian defences relating to the Leh region. As for the LAC, to paraphrase Humpty Dumpty, it is where you choose it to be.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 18:07
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I was reading an article that indicated the LAC has never been codified - its where both sides think its is - a recipe for a whole gamut of problems from honest errors all the way up to manipulated aggression.

No doubt in my mind the Chinese are stirring it up this time - but it's a pointless exercise TBH
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 20:13
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75 years ago the UN was formed with a primary purpose of preventing WW III. So far so good, but the overall record on collective security is mixed at best.
I do not think that a fight between China and India would necessarily be contained to a local region. To easy for it to leak out, either by accident or on purpose.
Not sure who will or will not raise the stakes. (Hoping the latter, will not, is what happens).
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 20:48
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
75 years ago the UN was formed with a primary purpose of preventing WW III. So far so good, but the overall record on collective security is mixed at best.
I do not think that a fight between China and India would necessarily be contained to a local region. To easy for it to leak out, either by accident or on purpose.
Not sure who will or will not raise the stakes. (Hoping the latter, will not, is what happens).
Whats more effective at preventing WWIII, the UN or the concept of MAD?
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 00:37
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One would think that neither side is that interested in what appears to be very marginal territory. Afaik, the solution elsewhere, notably Antarctica, has been to make the area into a park, with ownership .claims deferred.
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 02:18
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Originally Posted by etudiant
One would think that neither side is that interested in what appears to be very marginal territory. Afaik, the solution elsewhere, notably Antarctica, has been to make the area into a park, with ownership .claims deferred.
For that many to die minus the use of firearms says it was a furious battle. Whether pride or a property line, there's more than a passing interest.
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 10:21
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https://www.thehindu.com/news/nation...le31879418.ece

Who does Galwan Valley belong to?
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 13:24
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Originally Posted by West Coast
Whats more effective at preventing WWIII, the UN or the concept of MAD?
A bit of both. The UN is the child of the Peace of Westphalia, the Metternich System, the League of Nations, and a few other attempts by the Powers of the World to find other means of political leverage and suasion than the very expensive and destructive tool of politics that is war - in particular the industrial age version of intramural homicide that is war. (Called by Keegan if I recall, "the war by machine" phase of mankind's predilection to kill one another in organized groups).
The political calculus of what risk and what reward, on the balance, makes heading to war a political choice for sure was impacted by the very high cost of MAD. MAD didn't prevent various powers from using armed force, but it did prevent them from using it on each other, which is what WW III would, or will, look like. The Powers of the world going after each other.
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Old 21st Jun 2020, 15:12
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Thanks ORAC - the links to the Hindu - most useful - a map (a terrible map) but a map at last - and quite a balanced account.

What seems to be clear is that is the Chinese haven't provided a map of where they think the actual line runs - which is not good. It allows them to claim all sorts of infringements that no-one else has any idea about.

For those interested the actual position of the action seems to be around 34 deg 45' 30"N 078 deg 11' 04" E - on GE the LAC (in red ) is well south of the Galwan (or Gallowan on GE) river until it get close near to the subsidiary river coming in from the south 5km upstream from the Shyock/Galwan junction where is apparently a long established Chinese border marker. What seems to kicked things of was the completion of a bridge - but not sure if that was over the Galwan (bridge N_S) or and E-W bridge over the Shyok linking the finger of the Indian area to the main areas to the west. Chinese trying to push west to be able to overlook the strategic road that runs N-S on the west side of the Shyock
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Old 22nd Jun 2020, 07:17
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Speaking of Pakistan....

https://www.timesnownews.com/videos/...-damaged/64660

Pakistan targets innocent civilians in Uri; several residential structures damaged

Pakistan targets innocent Indian civilians and Indian villages in Uri region in the Baramulla district, in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 5 civilians have been injured and several residential structures have been damaged in Pakistani shelling........

Mir Fareed, J&K Bureau Chief says " Violations have been increased and it won't be right to call it violations anymore as it is happening every day. There is firing every day at LAC, let it be Jammu or the Kashmir Valley. Since yesterday, there has been heavy shelling by Pakistan and it has been retaliated in the equal measure by the Indian army."

Watch the video to know more......
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Old 22nd Jun 2020, 10:18
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https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/na...bombers-102461

Vigil up as China lines up more jets, bombers

China has added numbers to its air-based offensive platforms along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. It has also ramped up aggression and vigil to prevent Indian troops from patrolling east of “Finger 4” in the north of Pangong Tso.

India has also ramped up preparations on its side as the two armies remain fully deployed along the 826-km front of the LAC in Ladakh........

Indian agencies have noticed deployment of additional fighter jets, bombers and attack helicopters at four bases close to the LAC. Such additions have been noticed at Hotan in Xinjiang (just north of Ladakh), Ngyari (around 100 km south-east of Ladakh) and Shigatse (150 km north of Sikkim). There has also been PLA movement at Nyingchi, north of Arunachal Pradesh.

At Pangong Tso, the attempt of the PLA is to alter the LAC unilaterally. Armour and artillery buildup has also been done at Gogra Hot Springs. Indian positions at Depsang, Murgo, Galwan, Hot Springs, Koyul, Fukche and Demchok face enhanced threat from the PLA.

India has added Apache helicopters, Sukhoi fighter jets and tanks along the LAC.

The latest to be added is a division of the Indian Army that is otherwise kept ready for any contingency. After being acclimatised for over two weeks to undertake any operation at an altitude of over 14,000 feet, it is now being deployed. In all, a total of three divisions now form an arc and are ready to respond.......

Last edited by ORAC; 22nd Jun 2020 at 14:24.
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Old 22nd Jun 2020, 11:21
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Strange time to stir the brown stuff - monsoon due any time soon and that will stop any movement totally...............
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 00:44
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Originally Posted by Asturias56
Thanks ORAC - the links to the Hindu - most useful - a map (a terrible map) but a map at last - and quite a balanced account.
I would hardly call the maps in that link balanced or useful, the colour coding on the first map from The Hindu newspaper shows all of Indian claimed Ladakh province to be Indian territory, when in reality it is not and is firmly part of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan).

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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 07:33
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Originally Posted by Imagegear
Question is whether Pakistan would join in to do the pincer job.

IG
There more than a little sense that this is already underway. Get the Indians involved on two fronts. Boxed in by two nuclear powers = catastrophe in the making

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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 08:04
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They’re already shelling each other in a daily basis - see my post #469.
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 09:34
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And meanwhile, down at sea-level - US carriers return to challenge China in the Western Pacific. Article + photo in The Times today.

Two American carrier strike groups have begun operating together in the Western Pacific for the first time for nearly two years in a signal to China that the US Navy is back in business after the coronavirus pandemic crippled deterrent patrols in the region.

USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt, each escorted by up to six warships and submarines, launched joint training exercises in the Philippine Sea. The presence of the carriers, with a combined 180 aircraft and helicopters, is intended to redress the impression fostered by China that the American military has been on the back foot and was ill-prepared to deal with shipborne virus outbreaks.
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 16:11
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Originally Posted by dr dre
I would hardly call the maps in that link balanced or useful, the colour coding on the first map from The Hindu newspaper shows all of Indian claimed Ladakh province to be Indian territory, when in reality it is not and is firmly part of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan).
Dre - I understand it is an offence in India to publish a map that shows those areas as anything else but Indian - and it's written in the constitution that they can't give any of the country away. UK & US publishers often just colour it as Indian and mark the Indian claim line as "disputed boundary" - otherwise the books are liable to be seized and pulped. I assume the same applies in China.
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 16:13
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Originally Posted by Lyneham Lad
And meanwhile, down at sea-level - US carriers return to challenge China in the Western Pacific. Article + photo in The Times today.


There was something on the BBC saying the Chinese were thinking of bringing out their second carrier to have a drive around the scenery thereabouts - like buses - you wait a couple of years and then three or four turn up at once.....
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Old 23rd Jun 2020, 23:50
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Originally Posted by West Coast
For that many to die minus the use of firearms says it was a furious battle. Whether pride or a property line, there's more than a passing interest.
Amen to that, you are quite right that the scale of the casualties sends a clear message.
Yet it seems to me that both parties have much to gain by allowing this worthless bit of real estate to remain in legal limbo.
With luck, we could have the LAC nature preserve, a tourist draw rather than a deathtrap.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 09:15
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The critical words here are “gun positions”.

Remember the fight was hand to hand using clubs because the current treaty/agreement is that the LAC is kept weapons free.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...w/76597732.cms

India-China standoff: Satellite images, reports indicate PLA set up camp at clash site

NEW DELHI: Latest commercial satellite images and ground reports indicate Chinese troops are back on Indian territory in the Galwan Valley region in eastern Ladak, setting up a much larger camp with gun positions in place of the observation post that was destroyed by Indian troops in the bloody clash of June 15th.......

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