India And China Were On The Brink Of War, Says Northern Army Cdr Lt Gen YK Joshi

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New Delhi: India averted a war with China in August last year. The countries were on the brink. “In the nine-month-long stand-off with China in Eastern Ladakh, there have been many flare-ups but India and China came close to war on August 31, last year. This is right after India had occupied the strategic Kailash Ranges in South Bank on August 29 and 30, respectively. Rattled by India’s sudden move, which put the Chinese at a massive tactical disadvantage, the PLA launched a counter operation,” Lt Gen YK Joshi, India’s Northern Army Commander, told CNN-News18.

On August 31, when the Chinese PLA wanted to right up to the Kailash Ranges, the situation got extremely tense, Joshi added.

“Galwan had happened and the red line had been drawn. We were given an absolutely free hand to conduct operations the way we want. At that moment when you see the adversary trying to come up, my tank man, the gunner, the rocket launcher are all seeing this, the easiest thing for him to do is what he is trained to do. Pull the trigger. That doesn’t need any courage. But the most difficult thing that needs courage is not to open fire, not to press the trigger. So, we have to be very clear that was a time when war was actually averted. We were on the edge, we were absolutely on the brink,” he added.

Giving a rough estimate of the casualties on the Chinese side, the Northern Army Commander said it was close to 45.

According to Joshi, China has achieved nothing with the standoff, “except a bad name”. “I am reminded of a Mandarin proverb, which the Chinese have been saying to me for long. A relative who is far away cannot be equated to a neighbour who is very close to you. It means that it is better to have good relations with your neighbour than depend on your relative who is far away. So I want to throw the proverb back at the Chinese that we can be good neighbours but the trust level has to be there on both sides. So, the Chinese have to do their part to develop this trust now,” he told CNN-News18.

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