Decoding Modi's surprise visit to Ladakh: A loud and clear message to 'enemy' China
Leh/IBNS: A few months shy of his 70th birthday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen defying acclamitisation challenge to walk resolutely and shoulder to shoulder with Indian soldiers on the steep terrains of Ladakh, a mountainous region north of the country located above 10,000 feet, where a fierce encounter between Indian and Chinese troops killed dozens of armymen on both sides.
The surprise visit on Friday boosted the morale of the armed forces who have lost 20 of their recruits during the recent clash in Galwan Valley. But the presence of Modi there was not just symbolic. It was loaded with a message for China and its malignant communist regime.
Visuals showed the Prime Minister interacting with soldiers as they raised slogans like 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'. The visuals speak volumes about India and its solidarity with its frontier warriors when China has not even officially shared a casualty toll of its soldiers.
Apart from bolstering the confidence of the troops, Modi sent out a strong message to China by denouncing its 'expansionism' culture and said the enemies have seen the fire and fury of the Indian armed forces.
Accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Army chief Gen MM. Naravane during the visit, the Prime Minister visited those injured in the clash, at the military hospital.
Decoding the visit of Modi:
Decoding the visit, experts believe the Indian Prime Minister did a good job of sending out a clear message to observers and in particular to Beijing.
The visit comes right after the clash, showing the Prime Minister's will to stick with the forces, even if a visit to the area may not be very well suited for his age.
With most places in Ladakh located above 10,000 feet, acclimatisation is one of the most important things one has to keep in mind before planning a trip to the area.
Health conditions such as dizziness, headaches or even acute mountain sickness (AMS) are common on arrival in Ladakh.
However, Modi showed who's the boss and let his actions speak as he walked the extra mile to be with the troops in their hour of need.
Strategically, it showed India's willingness to back up its Army and its unwillingness to cower down before Chinese pressure.
Modi uses the word enemy to describe China
According to Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor in Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, the words of Modi in Ladakh are significant and indicates a shift in the way China will be dealt with.
"His visit had its effect on boosting the morale of the soldiers while he used the word enemy for China, indicating a change," said Prof. Kondapalli speaking to IBNS.
Prime Minister Modi and Xi Jinping had their Second Informal Summit in Chennai in October last year where Modi had praised the Chinese president, but now after the Ladakh face-off all that will change as indicated in the words of Modi, he said.
"Modi also used the word Sudarshana Chakra (the weapon of Vishnu and his Avatar Krishna). If you know its use in Mahabharata then you should compare it with nuclear weapons in modern time," he said.
Modi also mentioned that in Buddhism, courage is compassion. "Well, we know people in Ladakh are Buddhists and in the PLA also there are soldiers who are from Tibet and follow Buddhism," Prof. Kondapalli said, adding that Modi's words were heavily loaded and meant to have a psychological impact on soldiers even on the Chinese side.
Jinping to step down, CPC to be relegated?
Deepak Vohra, a former Secretary in India's External Affairs Ministry and a diplomat, said " I cannot tell you how important this is for the military and for the people of the region that is in a conflict situation
"What is remarkable is the Prime Minister going there despite his health concerns, to see this man walking like a teenager, running around, talking to the troops, speaking, it says volumes about his commitment, about his decisive leadership, which I have not seen," he said on a TV programme.
Narrating a story, Vohra said the Chinese have a tendency to form allies only when they are stuck. "When they need help, they will come to you on their knees, talking about brotherhood and when they are strong, they will try to bully you. Their bluffs have been caught."
"I hope and pray.... that they [UN] will boot the People's Republic of China. They have no right to be in the UN Security Council. Let them be in the UN but not in the UNSC. India should be there."
Vohra said contrary to beliefs about India's diplomacy being a weak link, it is extremely effective.
"There was a case when we had to elect a judge to the International Court of Justice. Our candidate was Mr Dalveer Bhandari and the British had put up someone. There were rumours that India, a former colony, would withdraw. Well, we didn't. Ultimately it was the British who withdrew their candidate, because everybody said we are going to vote for India.
"In my 47 years of diplomacy, this is the first time I'm seeing an all country approach. The military, the government, the diplomatic service and the people- all four important elements are united and are speaking with one voice.
"There will be a few dissenting political comments, but we take them in our stride.
The former diplomat said several countries will soon start seeing through China's deceitful tactics and would want to make amends by rejecting Xi Jinping and his Communist Party of China (CPC)
"Soon, I believe even the African Union- representing 54 countries- will come up with a statement even though China claims to have invested heavily in that continent.
"They will say 'Buddy, enough is enough. We don't like you'.
"The Europeans are upset, the liberal democracies are upset about what's going on in Hong Kong. Everybody is upset about what's going on at the borders, at the South China Sea.
Predicting China's downward spiral, Vohra said the citizens of the mainland would soon revolt against the totalitarian regime.
"By the end of this year, a fellow called Xi Jinping would have resigned on health grounds. Secondly, China would explode in nationwide protests for democracy. Third, the Communist Party of China would be relegated to the dustbin of history.
"I see the million mutinies taking place within mainland China and I see that the end is nigh," the diplomat added.
Will be unwise to repeat Galwan treachery
Speaking to Financial Express Online, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd), Former DGMO & Director Centre For Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS) said, “His visit to Leh is also a signal to China not to repeat the Galwan treachery during the agreed-upon disengagement process.
"The visit also supports and appreciates the Army’s resolute response. The PM visiting frontline troops boosts the morale of the armed forces and reinforces the political belief in the army’s top leadership.
"The visit to the soldiers injured at Galwan is recognition of their gallant fight despite a savage assault by PLA on 15 June. The visit also is a message to the International community of India’s firm and just stance to ensure territorial integrity and Sovereignty.
PM Modi is known to lead in crisis situations and spending time with troops deployed in borders areas and operations. It reinforces his leadership role and style, being seen in full control,” Bhatia added.