On June 15 last year, a clash between India and China broke out in the Galwan Valley area, resulting in casualties on both sides. India Today, The Times of India and other Indian mainstream media published a series of articles on the 15th to “commemorate” the Indian soldiers who were killed and injured in the conflict, claiming that there was “limited progress” in the disengagement talks between the two sides.
Indian media reported that Chinese troops are still stationed in the standoff area and show no sign of retreating. At the same time, the Indian side has been strengthening its military infrastructure in the border areas and reinforcing its deployment of troops and equipment. India Today, citing an anonymous source, further disclosed that improving the mobility of troops by optimising connectivity along the border was one of the key areas that India focused on last year, but that the ultimate goal of “connecting the dots” at strategic forts was still far from being achieved. The source also said that neither side had resumed patrolling in the standoff area since India and China disengaged on both sides of the Pangong Lake last year, and that the Indian side had closely monitored the activities of Chinese troops in the area through various monitoring devices, although there had been “no further unpleasant incidents” between the two sides during this period.
A number of serving and retired Indian army officers believe that India urgently needs to address the problem of supply and transportation of troops in the border areas. At the same time, they are also pessimistic about negotiations going as India expects in the future. “There may be a long way to go before the status quo prior to the confrontation (demanded by the Indian Government) is restored, and the follow-up with will be a test of endurance”. Another source said that the Indian army has deployed new speedboats in Pangong Lake, mainly for monitoring the local situation and transporting troops, and that 29 more speedboats will be delivered to the Indian army in the coming months, and that drones imported from Israel will soon be installed. In addition, the Indian Defence Research and Analysis Agency recently organised an online discussion in which former Indian Army Lieutenant General Singh stressed that “despite the large number of Chinese troops, the Indian Army is capable of countering the Chinese threat”.
The Indian New Express reported on 15 May that senior Indian Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that “the Chinese side has agreed to discuss the resolution of the standoff in Ghogra and other places through dialogue among division level officers”, “as they (the Chinese side) believe that the issue can now be resolved at this level “. However, the official added that “the above-mentioned issues will continue to be discussed at the Army Commanders level talks in the future, if required”.
India’s Economic Times, on the other hand, focused on the bilateral trade between India and China over the past year. The report mentions survey data from Local Circle showing that 43% of Indian consumers have stopped buying Chinese goods since the India-China border standoff, and 34% said they had bought only one or two Chinese items. A similar survey conducted in November last year said 71% of Indian consumers intentionally refused to buy Chinese goods, but many still continued to buy Chinese goods on the grounds of low prices. India-China trade fell by about 5.6 per cent in 2020, but jumped 70.1 per cent from January to May this year compared to the same period last year, the report said. This is mainly due to the massive purchase of medical equipment and medical oxygen from China after the second wave of the outbreak in India. The survey reminded that India is still dependent on China for many key sectors such as electrical machinery, electrical appliances and raw materials, with India’s imports of intermediate goods from China accounting for about 12 per cent of total imports and final consumer goods at about 26 per cent.