If there is one message that emerges clearly from the brutal clash at Galwan, it is that Xi Jinping is slowly but surely losing control of the PLA and therefore the plot. It is beyond doubt now, that the entire attack at Galwan was premeditated at the Western Theatre Command level, by General Zhao Zongqi, to avenge Doklam, which was a blot on his otherwise perfect career. Forced to give way at Doklam by the then imminent Modi-Xi meet, Zongqi continued as Western Theatre Command to take a chance at redeeming himself. Destiny conspired as the India’s revocation of Article 370 provided an opportunity for Zongqi to try his luck. This, coupled with Xi’s preoccupation with defending the COVID-19 and other geopolitical consequences, provided him the opportunity to rock the boat. Hence started the occupation of Galwan. Unfortunately here the plot started to unravel. Faced with a hard set of Indian commanders at the 14 Corps and the Northern Command, the hopes of creating a fait accompli for India went kaput. India built up man for man, bullet for bullet against the Chinese deployment and also went beyond. The oft stated principles of war of concentration of effort was well played by the Indian’s who ensured that the numbers matched where it mattered.
During the discussions and the negotiations, it became clear that Indians were not going to play ball. They had hardened their stance and dug in their heels. Now that Zongqi had stuck out his neck, he had no option but to do something before the inevitable pull back. What happened at Galwan last night would have been just that something to redeem himself. The plan, and there was obviously a plan, would probably have been to inflict serious casualties on the Indian side, cause embarrassment and leave after delivering the proverbial bloody nose. Even if that blood nose led to loss of a few lives, so be it. Unfortunately, there is an old military adage that say, no plan survives contact. And thus so it was, having lulled the Indian side by agreeing to a pull back, it struck during the disengagement phase…the least likely of the phases for a clash. Having ambushed the CO of the Unit and his escorts, the plan fell apart. From here on, the events are well known. The battalion reacted far in excess of what had been anticipated by the PLA. The violence spiralled out of control. Even destiny conspired triggering a landslide causing casualties. The net result was that a large number of Indian and Chinese soldiers lost their lives, and many suffered grievous injuries. All because one General could not control his ambition and wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. Now funeral pyres will blaze in India and China (since they have started cremating their dead now).
Xi seems to have got conned into this situation by Zongqi’s dreams. Or is there more to it than meets the eye. Could this have been orchestrated to put Xi into a spot? COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Chinese psyche and with many Chinese now baying for blood, is this the first step to ousting the President for Life. Is the PLA slowly but surely slipping out of circulation? Time will tell. Time will also tell us when the inevitable retaliation from the Indian side happens…at a time and place of its own choosing.