Diffusing the Chinese Aggression at the LAC : Daily Current Affairs

Date: 13/09/2022

Relevance: GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations, Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Relevance: GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas

Key Phrases: India-China LAC standoff, Galwan Skirmishes, Gogra-Hotsprings, Chang Chenmo River, Pangong Tso Lake, People’s Liberation Army(PLA), India-China border issues.


  • Recently the Indian army and China‘s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced that their armies have begun to disengage from Patrolling Point-15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area of Eastern Ladakh.


  • The move comes after a consensus on disengagement of the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15) reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting last week.
  • The move is also significant as it comes ahead of next week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan, which both the Prime Minister of India and the Chinese president are expected to attend.
  • Although the disengagement process is conducive to the peace and tranquility in the border areas, Demchok and Depsang plains still remain friction points, which China has constantly refused to withdraw.

Gogra-Hotsprings areas

  • Over the years there have been conventions which allow Indian Army troops to have access to patrol the areas under its control along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which acts as the de facto border between India and China.

  • These locations are marked by points known as patrolling points, or PPs, and are decided by the China Study Group (CSG).
    • CSG (an informal group) was set-up in 1976 and is the apex decision-making body on China related issues.
  • Patrolling In the Gogra-hot springs Areas
    • Patrolling in the border areas is important since the boundary between India and China is not yet officially demarcated and thus LAC is the de facto demarcation.
    • There are about 65 patrolling points in Ladakh along the LAC.
    • PP15 is located in an area known as the Hot Springs, while PP17A is near an area called the Gogra post.
    • Both these points are in an area where India and China largely agree on the alignment of the LAC.
  • Location of Hot Springs and Gogra Post:
    • Hot Springs is just north of the Chang Chenmo river and Gogra Post is east of the point where the river takes a hairpin bend coming southeast from Galwan Valley and turning southwest.
  • Significance:
    • The area lies close to Kongka Pass, one of the main passes, which, according to China, marks the boundary between India and China.
    • India’s claim of the international boundary lies significantly east, as it includes the entire Aksai Chin area as well.
    • Hot Springs and Gogra Post are close to the boundary between two of the most historically disturbed provinces (Xinjiang and Tibet) of China.

How is the current disengagement carried out?

  • To resolve the border stand off since May 2020 both the Indian and Chinese sides had agreed to hold regular talks to resolve the issue peacefully.
  • Thus far 16 rounds of talks of military leadership have paved the way for disengagement, the 16th round held in July 2022, at the Chushul.
  • The disengagement has begun in a coordinated and planned way and expected to be completed in a few days.
  • As per the understanding reached earlier on disengagement, a buffer zone is to be created at the friction points once troops are withdrawn by both sides.
    • New patrolling norms are to be worked out after complete disengagement and de-escalation.
  • With disengagement at PP-15, forces of the two countries have disengaged at all friction points in the region which included the North and South banks of the Pangong Tso, PP-14, PP-15 and PP-17A.

Additional Information

  • Chang Chenmo River:
    • Chang Chenmo River or Changchenmo River is a tributary of the Shyok River, part of the Indus River system
    • The source of Chang Chenmo is near the Lanak Pass.
    • It is at the southern edge of the disputed Aksai Chin region and north of the Pangong Lake basin.
  • Pangong Tso lake:
    • Pangong Lake is located in the Union Territory of Ladakh and across LAC.
    • It is situated at a height of almost 4,350m and is the world’s highest saltwater lake.
    • Extending to a length of about 130km, approximately 50% of the length of the overall lake lies within Tibet in China, 40% in Ladakh, India and the remaining 10% is disputed.

Despite Disengagement China challenge is enormous

  • China is ramping up its military and logistical modernization in Tibet and building new settlements right on the edge of the border.
  • The recently passed China’s New Border law formalizes the Chinese military’s transgressions across LAC and also calls for increased settlement of the civilian population and improved infrastructure along the border area.
  • Salami slicing tactics (a divide and conquer process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition) and increased instances of repetitive incursion into the Indian side of border are worrisome.
  • Growing military power gap with China coupled with a lack of modernization and new military infrastructure development in India.
  • Chinese coercion and aggression span the globe using its economic might but it is most critical in the Indo-Pacific and recently increased manifold in the Indian Ocean.

Indian Response to Chinese challenge at the LAC

  • India imposed a series of economic measures against China which included cutting on supplies of specific trade items and banning Chinese Apps, companies etc.
  • Enhanced deployment of troops at the LAC which matched with the PLA deployments on the border.
  • Emphasis on no usual trade and business with China and restoring the status quo ante on the border was precondition for the normalization of the relationship.
  • Firm political position which stressed that “state of the border” reflects the “state of the relationship” and simultaneously patient negotiation at the military level.
  • India stepped up its security cooperation with adversaries of China such as the United States and revived the Quadrilateral forum with Australia, Japan, and the US

What is the Significance of current disengagement?

  • The completion of disengagement has raised hopes for renewing high level political dialogue between the Prime Minister of India and the Chinese President on the sidelines of SCO summit in Samarkand.
  • India would want the disengagement followed by de-escalation of the military confrontation by pulling the troops on both sides to their peace time locations.
  • It may pave the way for the resolution of two other points of confrontation in Ladakh - in the Depsang plains in the north and the Demochok valley in the south.


  • India’s challenges on the border are daunting and a growing military power gap with China has enhanced the vulnerabilities.
  • Although it is not easy to return to the border that was once peaceful in such circumstances when there is a colossal amount of trust deficit between the two countries.
  • But due to a sustained pressure and constant engagement at military level China is mending its ways of late
    • So India must play its cards wisely and continue to press for complete disengagement and de-escalation from all friction areas.
  • Also the Prime Minister of India should be open for a political engagement with the Chinese side in Samarkand and lay out clearly India’s terms for the normalization of bilateral relations.

Source: Indian Express

Mains Question:

Q. “Disengagement on Line of Actual Control is a welcome start, but normalization of India-China relations is a long way off” Elaborate. How can India leverage the declining popularity of China to boost its economic potential overseas in the aftermath of the pandemic? (250 words).