In May 2020, shocking and disturbing news trickled in.

Army sources revealed to defence reporters that two incidents of face-off had occurred between Indian and Chinese troops, on the night of May 5 and 6 near Pangong Tso lake and at Naku La, Sikkim.

The incidents had resulted in injuries to several soldiers on both sides.

More details emerged – in April 2020, it was clear China had amassed a large number of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh and other areas along the LAC.

Things took a turn for the worse when 20 Indian soldiers died and there were an unknown number of Chinese casualties at Galwan on June 15, 2020.

What led to this tragic face-off and what is the reality of the situation in Ladakh, one year later? In conversation with Mitali Mukherjee, Lt Gen Panag, a defence and strategic affairs expert, and Sushant Singh, senior fellow at CPR India and a defence writer, pointed out that it was while it was clear India had been caught napping last year, the de-escalation agreement that has been reached is the best possible solution for both India and China at this point.

Lt Gen Panag also said the fact that India had been able to push China’s aggression to a “stalemate” counted as thwarting of China’s motives.

Singh said India would now have to deal with the reality of two ‘active borders’ and it was widely known that troops had been diverted from the Indo-Pak border to man the LAC.

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