Galwan Valley clash was 'planned' by China: Commission informs US Congress
Several weeks prior to the clash, Chinese Defense Minister Wei called to “use fighting to promote stability," the commission said
The massive physical brawl in the Galwan Valley in June was a 'pre-planned move' by the Chinese authorities, potentially including the possibility for fatalities, a top United States commission has concluded in its annual report to the Congress .
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in its 2020 Annual Report to Congress, said that the Chinese government seems to have planned the incident.
It has referred to China’s Defence Minister Wei call to ‘use fighting to promote stability’ at the National People’s Congress in May “potentially indicating China’s intent to initiate military tensions with its neighbors to stabilize its periphery by projecting an image of strength,” it wrote.
The report described the move as one taken to deliberately escalate tensions between the two nations,
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in action during a violent faceoff with Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley on the night of June 15. The Chinese also suffered a large number of casualties though they have never revealed a number. The clash sparked off a tense standoff between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region.
Under the section ‘Beijing Escalates Tensions with New Delhi’ of its report, the commission writes, “Some evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the incident, potentially including the possibility for fatalities.”
“For instance, several weeks prior to the clash Defense Minister Wei made his statement encouraging Beijing to “use fighting to promote stability,” it wrote further.
Another evidence came just weeks before the incident and that too as a threat to the Indian government. China’s state-owned news portal Global Times had threatened India that it would suffer a ‘devastating blow’ if it got involved in the ‘US-China rivalry.’
“Just over two weeks before the incident, in another potential indication of Chinese leaders signaling their intent to escalate tensions, an editorial in China’s state-owned tabloid Global Times warned that India would suffer a “devastating blow” to its trade and economic ties with China if it got “involved in the U.S.-China rivalry,”” the US commission wrote in its annual report.
Satellite images depicted a large Chinese build-up in the Galwan Valley, including potentially 1,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the week before the deadly skirmish, the report said.
While the exact motivations behind the Chinese government’s proactive behaviour on the Line of Actual Control this year remain unclear, the proximate cause of the clash appeared to be India’s construction of a strategic access road to support troops stationed along the LAC, the report said.
“China has also built extensive infrastructure along the LAC in recent years. In the aftermath of the clash, Beijing asserted sovereignty over the entire Galwan Valley, a new claim and significant change to the territorial status quo,” it said.
The US Commission further wrote “If Beijing intended to dissuade India from building infrastructure on its side of the LAC or warn it against aligning with the United States, however, “then the Chinese moves have been ineffective, if not counterproductive.””
The June clash in Galwan Valley was the first major incident of its kind since 1975. The clash followed a series of standoffs beginning in early May along multiple sectors of the LAC.
Shortly after the skirmish, New Delhi announced its move to ban 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, including TikTok, a major Chinese video sharing and social media app that counted India as its largest overseas market.
In September, India banned 118 additional Chinese apps, arguing they were ‘hostile to national security.’ Another set of 43 mobile applications, mostly of Chinese origin, including many of the Alibaba group, were banned last month by the Indian government for being ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India.’