Friday, October 10, 2008
PANGONG LAKE - FUTURE CONFLICT WITH CHINA
Nestled between India and China at an altitude of 14,500 feet, and 4 hours bone shaking drive from Leh, lies Pangong Lake (also known as Lukung Lake). 45 kms of this lake lies within Indian territory while the remaining 90 kms lies within China.
Things deteriorated in 1999 after China, taking advantage of the Indian Army’s buildup in Kargil, built a 5-km permanent track into Indian territory along the lake.
The Chinese have led incursions into India because they know that they can – and can get away with it. It’s as simple as that. Our politicians refuse to acknowledge even today the Chinese threat. Reminds one of the 1962 debacle when Krishna Menon ordered COFFEE PERCOLATORS to be made in ARMS FACTORY – thinking that the Chinese aggression is a myth, only to be proved wrong at a catastrophic cost to the country.
In July 2008, an Indian motorboat on regular patrolling duty along the perceived border in the lake, was surrounded by three Chinese naval crafts. Things started turning tense as the Chinese crafts approached the Indian boat (which was sufficiently armed with two machine guns and a 20 -member contingent). The situation calmed down only after the quick thinking operator swung around the larger Indian boat in circles to disperse the Chinese crafts.
The Chinese Navy operates close to 22 armed patrol boats in the lake — mostly smaller vessels seating five to seven soldiers. India, on the other hand, has two patrol boats that are operated by the Army. While these boats are bigger — carrying up to 21 soldiers — the numeric superiority that China enjoys is undeniable.
Stuck in the corridors of South Block is a proposal to ferry in an additional 10-12 boats for better patrolling of the lake.
BACK TO 1962: The Govt of India, with Krishna Menon as Defence Minister, was least interested in defence preparedness. Ordnance factories were manufacturing coffee percolators and toasters, because they had “extra spare capacity”. But as they all shouted in Parliament, “ ------every inch of our land will be defended to the last man.” With what?
DEAR HON'BLE DEFENSE MINISTER - WE NEED MORE THAN COFFEE PERCOLATORS AND YOUR DUMB ASSURANCES. FIRST AND FOREMOST, INCREASE THE PAY OF OUR ARMED FORCES AND BRING IT TO PARITY WITH ITS CIVILIAN COUNTER-PART. OTHERWISE, WE WILL SUPPORT A MILITARY TAKEOVER OF INDIA BY OUR ARMED FORCES !