April 22, 2021
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Hidden intention
BDCA: China lures India into a strategic trap


As Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh looks for glory before his retirement, China is trying to lure India into a strategic trap in the name of Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) for restoring confidence building measures to keep the Line of Actual Control (LAC) tranquil.  

The phase of tranquility along the LAC is gone for many Chinese experts who view India as a possible rival in near future and could hurt China’s interests very badly as both sides are carving out their own space in a continent which has never seen native power rivalry in modern times.

The BDCA is a Chinese proposal to ease tension along the Line of Actual Control and the idea was first mooted by a senior Chinese PLA General way back in 2008 who saw India’s desire to enhance military infrastructure along the LAC.

The Chinese feel if India augments border infrastructure then all the gains made by PLA in over 20 years will reduce to zero since India has many advantage peaks and points along the Himalayas from where it can neutralize Chinese strategic calculations.

Thus, India’s aim to bolster military infrastructure along the LAC has become a major point of debate in Central Military Commission for last two years and twice the plan to take up the issue with New Delhi was dropped at the last moment due to fear of diplomatic fall out.

According to Chinese experts, by introducing BDCA to which Indian side has now formally agreed, China will achieve two strategic objectives.

First, China has made it official that India has accepted that McMahon Line is disputed and second is it will help the Chinese to force India for setting up a demilitarize zone along the LAC.

India has failed to understand that the status of LAC is going to be altered by China with the BDCA which is quite confusing and lacks clarity in a long term military perspective as the document will have official status but no clear stand.

This suits China very much to alter the LAC and take advantage of disputed LAC. By this way China will be able to establish that the whole territory claimed by Beijing is disputed. This will give China right to carry out its nefarious activities as the LAC is disputed.

In this situation, neither India nor China will be able to claim what they have. Since India has no claim of Chinese territory the advantage will tilt in favor of China as Beijing claims Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.

On the other hand, China has a long term plan to set up demilitarize zones along the LAC. The BDCA will however oblige the Chinese with their game plan to deny India bringing any military infrastructure project close to the LAC.

By doing so, Beijing can deny India not to be able to deploy large scale troops in case of hostility as China has connected the entire LAC with 4,500 km roads, often connecting from the forward LAC points to the rear military posts.

While China can reach to any point of LAC within 2 hours using this infrastructure, India will take in some cases 4 days to reach the LAC forward posts due to inhospitable terrain conditions.

The Indian side of the LAC is quite tough and the BDCA will not only forbid stationing of forces close to LAC but it advocates both sides must keep their troops 50 km away from the LAC.     

But India however thinks the BDCA will enhance confidence building measures followed by having greater frequency of meetings along the border and increased exchange of visits of both young and senior armed forces officials to get familiarization with each other.