Political guidance for India’s strategic rudder is being tested by China’s Great Power ambitions. In Ladakh, disengagement and de-escalation remain on ice. An eyeball to eyeball confrontation continues, one that is pregnant with possibilities of sudden eruptions that could dwarf the Galwan incident in terms of force exchange and casualties.
The deployment of military forces at the highest state of alert over such extended periods is a recipe for the elements of the accidental, and the inadvertent coalescing in unimaginable ways due to miscommunication, misperception and misjudgement. The deep uncertainty, danger and stress experienced as situational awareness at the individual and collective levels could explode and cause catastrophe in the mountainous terrains of Ladakh. Political rationality on either side may not be able to control escalation that can easily spiral from a minor incident to a major exchange of fire power.