IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | Chinese Calculations in Galwan Valley | UPSC

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IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT 95 :“Chinese Calculations in Galwan Valley | UPSC

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL | Chinese Calculations in Galwan Valley | UPSC

Chinese Calculations in Galwan Valley | UPSC

M.K. Narayanan

M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal


Making sense of China’s calculations


Analysts should have considered the pandemic’s impact on its economy and India’s strategic alignment with the U.S.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2: Sino-India Relations


Timing and nature of China’s actions should have been drawn out well before Chinese strategic calculations. Comment -(GS 2)


  • Policy Confrontation
  • Failure of Intelligence
  • Important Agencies
  • Way Forward


What policy planners in Delhi, and possibly those in Beijing, have long feared, viz., a direct confrontation leading to fatal casualties, occurred in the Galwan heights in the late evening of June 15.

  • CASUALTIES : The number of casualties on the Chinese side has not been formally indicated, though they have conceded that at least one Colonel was among those killed.



  • MUTUAL CONSENSUS : Corps Commanders of India and China on June 22-23 appeared to reach a “mutual consensus” to disengage and embark on lowering “tensions” through a “gradual and verifiable disengagement”.
  • RESTORING POST : Chinese post in the Galwan area not only being restored, but also, from satellite images available, bigger in size than before.
  • FRACTURE PHASE : It would be more judicious to view it as signifying a new and fractious phase in China-India relations.
  • NEW AND DIFFERENT NORMALS : Even if the situation reverts to what existed before, India-China relations appear set to witness a “new and different normal”.

  GALWAN HEIGHTS REPEATED : What took place in the Galwan heights cannot be viewed as a mere replay of what took place in Depsang (2013), Chumar (2014) and Doklam (2017).

  • ADDRESSING CORE ISSUES : This is a new and different situation and India must not shrink from addressing the core issue that relations between India and China are in a perilous state.


  • STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS : Strategically for India of China’s insistence on keeping the whole of the Galwan Valley are serious as it fundamentally changes the status quo.
  • OPENING OLD BOOKS : Finally, by laying claim to the Galwan Valley, China has reopened some of the issues left over from the 1962 conflict, and demonstrates that it is willing to embark on a new confrontation.
  • CLASHES ON LAC : Ambiguity has existed regarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in this sector;

  Chinese “claim line” is that of November 1959, while for India the LAC is that of September 1962.

  • CLAIMS REOPENED : In recent years, both sides had refrained from reopening the issue, but China has never given up its claims.
  • UNILATERAL DECLARATIONS : By its unilateral declaration now, China is seeking to settle the matter in its favour.
  • India needs to measure up to this challenge.


  • SIGNIFICANCE : Aksai Chin for China has greatly increased of late, as it provides direct connectivity between two of the most troubled regions of China, viz., Xinjiang and Tibet.
  • RECLASSIFICATION OF LADAKH : While Indian policy makers saw the reclassification of Ladakh as purely an internal matter, they overlooked the fact that for China’s military planners
  • THREAT : The carving out of Ladakh into a Union Territory posited a threat to China’s peace and tranquillity.


  • VALUE OF INTELLIGENCE : Leaders make better decisions when they have better information, and the enduring value of intelligence comes from this fundamental reality.
  • PREPLANNED MENACE : The Chinese build-up in the Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Hotsprings-Gogra did not require any great intelligence effort.
  • IMPROVISING TECHNOLOGIES : India also possesses high quality imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities, distributed between the National Technical Research Organisation, the Directorate of Signals Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence and other agencies, which made it possible to track Chinese movement.

  This is indicative of a weakness in interpretation and analysis of the intelligence available, as also an inability to provide a coherent assessment of China’s real intentions.

  • FALLING SHORT : Intelligence assessment of China’s intentions, clearly fell short of what was required.
  • CAPACITY BOOST : Technology has been developed but the capacity for interpretation and analysis has not kept pace with this.
  • USING AI : Advances in technology, specially Artificial Intelligence have, across the world, greatly augmented efforts at intelligence analysis.


  • INTERNATIONAL MESSAGE : It has often felt compelled to demonstrate that no nation should attempt to exploit the situation to China’s disadvantage.
  • POLICY FAILURE : India’s intelligence and policy analysts obviously failed to analyse this aspect adequately, while trying to make sense of China’s latest forward push.
  • US ALIGNMENT : Another of China’s current preoccupation, viz. that India is feeling emboldened because of its growing strategic alignment with the United States.


The principal responsibility for intelligence assessment and analysis concerning China, rests with the:

  • National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) ,
  • India’s external intelligence agency,
  • Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), and to a lesser extent, the
  • Defence Intelligence Agency

LACK OF EXPERTISE : In the case of the R&AW, lack of domain expertise, and an inadequacy of China specialists might also have been a contributory factor.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • SUMMIT DIPLOMACY : The preference given recently to Summit diplomacy over traditional foreign policy making structures proved to be a severe handicap.

  Summit diplomacy cannot be a substitute for carefully structured foreign office policy making.


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