‘It was following Doklam that the Chinese realised that India’s military posturing was not based on thin air’.


New Delhi: Officials who have been watching and studying the India-China stand-off, now in its fifth month, have reasons to believe that the June-August 2017 Doklam incident, during which India was successfully able to thwart China’s attempt to annex Doklam, which is claimed by Bhutan, gave a rude jolt to the Chinese strategists and “awakened” them to the reality that the massive gap between India and China when it came to infrastructure in the border areas, had decreased.

“2017 was definitely a game changer when it comes to how we acted at the border when it involved the Chinese PLA. Till 2010, there was a massive gap between the kind of infrastructure the Chinese had built along the borders and the infrastructure that we had. The kind of gap I am referring to is well documented and it was only the sheer dedication of our soldiers which stopped the PLA from using that gap for its gain. However, by 2017, that gap was significantly reduced, which the Chinese realised when men and machines were rushed to Doklam, outnumbering the ones that were brought by the PLA. We believe it was post Doklam that they realised that India’s military posturing was not based on thin air. What we are now seeing at the Eastern Ladakh border is an extension of the hard lessons that they learnt in Doklam. They do not want to be taken by surprise again and hence they have taken control of areas which were traditionally dominated by India, thereby coming nearer towards our borders while expanding their borders,” an official source said.

Responding to a recent report published by a foreign intelligence platform which has claimed that China has more than doubled its air bases, air defence positions, and heliports near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the official said that such information was already available with the people in the establishment who needed it and there was nothing alarming about what the report had stated. “Construction of defence and civil infrastructure by a foreign country inside their borders is a routine affair and it is hard to hide such constructions. The people concerned (in the government) are aware of what is happening on their side of the border. The OSINT (Open Source Intelligence Tools) experts are doing their jobs, we are doing ours,” the official said.

The satellite images used in the report were provided to the foreign platform by a Twitter user. “Since 2017 and till now, the PLA has added new infrastructure at the border, while modifying and enhancing the old ones. We, too, have done the same. In the present crisis, it took us not even seven days to deploy the massive resources that are presently looking towards China. The talks that are going on (to resolve the dispute) are happening from a position of strength, something which the PLA too has realised,” a senior Defence ministry official said.