Border Meetings at the level of brigade commanders have sort out the tensions in Ladakh and Sikkim sectors, where Indian and Chinese troops fought each other with batons, rods and stones on 5th and 9th May.
But on Tuesday, India flew combat air patrols in Ladakh sector after Chinese military helicopters were found flying very close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Indian Sukhoi MKIs took off from the Leh airbase twice and flew along the LAC after alerts over the Chinese helicopters .
But IAF sources said the Chinese helicopters did not intrude into Indian airspace.
But military intelligence sources told Easternlink that the heavy-duty helicopters may be used now to transport reinforcements to beef up strength at the trouble spots.
“The Chinese troops rarely march long distances to reach forward locations like our troops often do . They get ferried in helicopters,” one officer familiar with Chinese deployment said.
Indian army press office said reinforcements have been rushed to the sensitive areas of the 3448-km long disputed border by both sides .
But they played down the two incidents as “temporary and short-duration face-offs” that were resolved by “local commanders as per mutually-accepted protocols” through dialogue and flag meetings.
Both Chinese and Indian troops , under orders to leave their weapons in the bunkers while out on area-domination or observation patrols, fought each other with stones, iron rods and and batons in primeval fashion .
Eye-witnesses told Easternlink :” This did not look like a skirmish between two modern armies. Rather it resembled a clash witnessed in our (Indian) villages where rival landlords involved in a land dispute marshal their gang of toughies and attack each other in large numbers .”
The first clash at Pangong Tso in Ladakh on May 5 and the second clash at Muguthang in Sikkim on May 9 send border tensions spiralling.
The burly Indian troops . physically stronger than slim and thin Chinese, wrestled down their opponents or pushed them back towards where they came from, eye-witnesses said.
Former major Probal Dasgupta told Easternlink: ” In any unarmed clash, our boys always beat the Chinese because they are more determined, fierce, and stronger. The myth of the kung-fu knowing Chinaman is all myth.”
“It is only in logistics, terrain, physical infrastructure and supplies, that the Chinese have an edge. But that is more than made up, as always, by the determination of the Indian soldier and junior commanders. No hesitation staying in hand-to-hand and close quarter combat, our soldiers and junior commanders are one of the best in the world,” said Dasgupta, author of “Watershed”, a detailed account of the 1967 Sikkim border clashes.
“We will always have an edge in unarmed combat, so the outcome of both the Pangong and Muguthang clashes in which more Chinese than Indian soldiers were injured was only to be expected,” said Dasgupta.
Analysts say the Indian army will have to prepare for a summer of Chinese muscle-flexing on the border, unless Delhi makes an effort to placate the Chinese politically.
“There is a pattern to Chinese border posturing. They scale up activity whenever they are politically upset with India. From backing rebels in India’s Northeast to intrusions across the LOC to coming out in open support of Pakistan, the Chinese resort to all these to signal their angst. From our recent rhetoric of recovering Pakistan-held Kashmir and Aksai Chin to our rejection of Chinese PPE kits and face masks , Beijing has a few reasons to be upset. That is showing on the tensions in the border, in PLA efforts to cross the LOC,” said Lt-Gen J R Mukherjee , former chief of staff of India’s Eastern Army .
Mukherjee, now vice-president at the Calcutta-based thinktank CENERS-K, said the Chinese are “feeling beleaguered ” after the corona outbreak.
“Some of the current aggression, diplomatic or military, may be a way of blazing your way out of a perceived encirclement.”