China-India Brief; Chinese Rocket Debris and Ambitious Space Programme; Xi on National Security; Guns vs Butter; Xi Purges Military-Industrial Chiefs
I. The Big Story: China-India Brief
It’s been over a year since the start of the ongoing stand-off between China and India. The two sides have held 11 rounds of the Corps Commander-level meetings, with the latest on April 9, 2021- which yielded no result. Until now, disengagement has been achieved on Pangong Tso north and south banks, however, the stand-off in varying degrees continues at the Gogra-Hotspot regions and the approach road to the Depsang plains.
The Depsang Plains remains to be the biggest challenge for the Indian security establishment. Sushant Singh, a former journalist and now a research fellow with the Centre for Policy Research, describes it as a strategically important area for India. “Depsang is very close to the Karakoram pass. It’s a flat area. Chinese have five roads coming to that area – where they can bring their armour, while India only has one road. It forms a kind of a wedge towards the Siachen Glacier. If the Chinese come from the east and move into Depsang, and if they overcome a single mountain range that India defends, then they could cut down the Indian supply line to the southern Siachen Glacier. This allows the Pakistanis to move in from their side and occupy the southern Siachen Glacier. This is the only place where China and Pakistan’s territorial goals can physically meet on the Indian territory. It doesn’t mean that China will go and occupy Siachen, but it could facilitate Pakistan to capture the Siachen Glacier. This is something that worries the Indian defence establishment. Depsang is also not defensible due to the terrain configuration on the Indian side… Depsang is far more important strategically than Pangong Tso, and it remains unresolved until now,” claims Singh on the Seen and Unseen weekly podcast (02.13.30) hosted by Amit Varma.