Faltering Indian Army along LoC, LAC
Indian Army’s approach at our frontiers of the Line of Control (LoC) against Pakistan or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) against China has improved in the recent years of Modi govt but it could be termed anything but efficient. The incidences taking place all along our western and northern borders are very unsatisfactory especially after Modi Govt has given our Armed Forces a reasonable free hand. We find that Pakistani rats (both Jihadists and rangers) are able to dig holes and tunnels across the fencing. Our intelligence services do have approximate knowledge of the terrorists filled to the brims at the numerous launch-pads all along the LoC. We know the approximate locations of the numerous launching spots of the drones from Pak soils carrying drugs, weapons and ammunition/explosives to their handlers in J&K and Punjab. Our Army HQs know all these, yet they are hesitant in initiating the proactive measures on their own or in coordination with IAF without crossing the LoC. Even if the LoC is to be crossed, Modi Govt may be more than willing to authorise another surgical strike at any or all those hot spots of terror hubs along the LoC within PoK.
The situation along LAC is no better. The Chinese forces continue to make forays within Indian territories almost all along the LAC. We have heard of new villages being built by the PLA in Arunachal akin to their long drawn policy of ‘Salami Slicing’. Our intelligence wing also failed to notice the building of three villages by the PLA in Doklam area although within Bhutan. The Chinese patrol parties are still able to penetrate the LAC within eastern Ladakh (Demchok), Himachal, Uttarakhand and Sikkim area…leave alone the Arunachal where most such occurrences still go unnoticed (as evidenced by the civilians repeatedly getting abducted by the PLA). Although the intent of PLA intrusions/incursions may not be offensive, yet such things taking place is a blot on our border defence…esp now when both BSF and ITBP are understandably are working in cohesion with the Army. We must also not forget that the infrastructure all along LAC have far improved in Modi Govt, far better than the UPA days when the RM had to acknowledge in the parliament of Congress regime to keep the entire LAC without developing our roads and other infrastructures.
Faltering along the LoC
We understand that the terrain all along LoC are treacherous, often inaccessible. After the Pulwama attack in 2019, the Indian Govt had especially made provisions for better vigilance all along the LoC. If digging holes/tunnels along the fencing goes unnoticed by BSF or Army, it is unacceptable. One-odd such incidence may go unnoticed but its recurrences are worrisome. Many such incidences are taking places in or near the cultivated farm-lands. There is no reason to believe that the owner of those farm-land will be ignorant, unaware of these happenings during or weeks after the acts of digging. It clearly shows a blind spot in our defence. These tunnels are in the vicinities of Pak Army/Ranger posts/terrorist launch pads where they provide cover fire. Similarly, numerous Pak drones crossing with drugs/arms/explosives for delivery to their handlers/moles in India is taking place rather too often. It is difficult for any radar and weapon system to track and destroy these small, low flying drones. Hence, the only credible means to counter the drone threats are by destroying them at the location within Pok…and there is justification in doing so because it has dropped bombs/explosives in past on our Jammu IAF base.
It goes without saying that India has been tolerating such Pak needling and cuts rather too often and too long. By now, India have weapons to neutralise the threat spots of terrorist launch pads and drone launch zones. Our CARTOSAT satellite orbiting and making passes along the LoC should be able to provide us the exact bearings (longitude & latitude). If in doubt, we have security agreements/pacts of BECA and COMCASA with USA in which the exact bearings of these terrorist hubs could be confirmed/obtained. Once we have the confirmed bearings, our long range artilleries can neutralise these threats to kill those Jihadi rats within their holes itself rather than waiting for them to cross over. Our artillery has done is once in past hence, there is no reason why they cannot hit again and again. Our Apache helicopter is especially capable for such tasks with its precision weapons. As these launch pads are within 2-3 km of the fencing/LoC, the helicopter can launch attack without crossing the LoC. Even if LoC is to be crossed, Modi Govt may be more than willing to authorise hitting those terror hot spots by making one low level pass by these helicopters. As such these territories of PoK belong to India hence, there is no problem in neutralising the terror hubs. It is high time such measures are made a common occurrence by Indian Armed Forces. Pakistani Terrorists cannot continue with their nefarious activities hiding under the cease fire agreement with Pak Army. The cease fire is with Pak Army, not the terrorists.
Faltering along the LAC
After the first deactivation/disengagement at the Pangong area, PLA has shown no intent to stop their old games of incursions within Indian territories all along the 3500 Km stretch. It is impossible for the Indian Army / ITBP to keep vigil in the entire stretch owing to their limited strength. Under such circumstances, there is no reason why Civil Defence groups should not be formed in the cluster of few villages to keep vigil / surveillance along the LAC. These Civil Defence clusters must be under control of the Rapid Action Force in those regions within 500-odd kilometres, from where the troops could be airlifted/launched at short notice to counter any such misadventure by the PLA. These Civil Defence groups could be provided with vigilance/surveillance drones with its signal transmitted to the zonal drone centre. One such Civil Defence group could be activated every 50 Km along the LAC. Assistance of our CARTOSAT satellite could also be taken during their pass over the designated areas of interest. This will also keep an eye on the PLA activities across the LAC. Presently, our army seems to be in passive mode of LAC defence. They will have to change it to being proactive.
The infrastructures of roads LAC have surely been beefed up in the Modi govt but it is not enough. PLA is able to find holes all along. Only border roads are not enough. Infrastructures must be advanced in constructing defence bunkers/posts in all vulnerable areas of perceived intrusions. Army must also identify spots/locations to create bases for positioning artillery guns at vantage positions / heights. A small concealed garrison may be created that could be activated at short notice. Aperiodic manning of these posts must be done. For this, a credible logistic lines along the vulnerable points all across LAC is the need of hour that must not be delayed. India cannot remain lethargic in defence against the unpredictable Chinese. With the formation of the Mountain Strike Force (MSF), Indian Armed Forces must also develop offensive strategies against the many Chinese garrisons in Tibet close to the LAC. Raising another MSF may not be out of place..
Faltering by Govt of India
Modi Govt too seems to be faltering in their proactive border defence. RM is fully aware of our weaknesses along the LoC and LAC. If Army is unable to plug holes in border defence, Raksha Mantri or Prime Minister must pull up their socks and step-in. After all, the accountability of national defence is of the Government of the day. We know our Armed Forces is highly professional…but… Vigilance along the LoC and LAC has been a weak point for decades. That is how Kargil and Pangong incursions occurred. Army/BSF/ITBP cannot shy away from their accountability in recent years esp after Modi Govt has provided them with reasonable means.
Actions by Min of External Affairs, GoI is short of expectations. MEA is still shying away from naming China for disregarding and violating the five bilateral agreements on peace & tranquillity. MEA must issue advisory/warning to the Chinese Govt against their expansionist agendas. The time has come for GoI to review its ‘One-China’ policy. India must also try to forge alliances with all smaller nations in the region threatened by Chinese hegemony.
GoI has far neglected the infrastructure development of the border areas esp along the LAC in the past. The recent year developments are welcome steps. However, there is a need to augment defence capabilities of Military garrisons with equipment with which our forces can acquire credible defence and also adopt offensive posture if needed. Raising another MSF may not be out of place.
The national defence of India along LoC and LAC has been gearing up to the new and emerging challenges of our enemies and adversaries. The present defence measures along LoC and LAC are anything but robust and need proactive measures to instil fears in the ranks and files of the terrorist forces based in PoK or our adversaries in PLA. Indian Armed Forces have reasonably effective means in their hands to be proactive in hitting and neutralising the terror hubs within the PoK and it must be done regularly. Similarly, the Chinese PLA are back to their old policies of incursions and intrusions including ‘Salami Slicing’ inside LAC in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal. All these must be stopped forthwith. Armed Forces must not hesitate in undertaking newer innovative measures of surveillance all along the LAC and also making credible offensive defensive posts that could be activated along with supporting services within a short time.