What is happening in Ladakh?

Justice Markandey Katju-


All sorts of things are being said about happenings in Ladakh. The Prime Minister initially said there was no incursion into Indian territory, but later modified his statement when confronted with undeniable facts about Galwan Valley etc. What is the truth?

Justice Markandey Katju

The truth is as mentioned in my article ‘ The Chinese are today’s Nazis ‘ published in theweek.in. China has built up a massive industrial base, and with its huge 3.2 trillion dollars foreign exchange reserve it is hungrily looking for markets and raw materials, and avenues for profitable investment.

Mountainous areas like Tibet and Ladakh, appear barren, like Siberia, but like Siberia they are full of valuable minerals and other natural wealth. This is the reason  China has captured Tibet, and also parts of Ladakh. Using salami tactics, it has recently occupied Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Hot Springs and other parts of Ladakh ( having already occupied Aksai Chin in the 1960s ). These areas have valuable minerals, needed by China’s growing industry, and this is the real explanation of recent events.

One must understand that politics is concentrated economics, and so to understand politics one must understand the economics behind it. There are certain iron laws of economics, which operate independently of any individual’s will.

For example, why did the British conquer India? It was not for a picnic or for enjoyment. In fact, the British were miserable in the hot weather here. They conquered India because after their industries had grown to a certain level they needed overseas markets, raw materials and cheap labor.

Similarly, what was the cause of the First World War? It was for redivision of the world’s colonies. Since Britain and France had done their industrialization earlier they had grabbed most of the backward countries and made them their colonies i.e. markets and sources of cheap raw materials and cheap labor. German industrialization began later, but soon it caught up with the British and French, and then they too demanded more colonies, but the British and French were unwilling to part with theirs, and this resulted in the war.

Why did Japan invade China and other countries? To get raw materials and markets for their growing industry.

Similarly, after the Chinese built up a massive industrial base they need markets and raw materials, and this has made them imperialist. They have entered Asia, Africa, South America, and even developed countries.

But presently the Chinese are largely proceeding cautiously. They use largely economic measures, not military. However, they do sometimes use military measures too, and they have built up a massive military. Presently they use salami tactics, advancing step by step. This explains what happened recently in Ladakh in the Galwan Valley and other places they have occupied. In the future too they will keep nibbling away parts of Ladakh and other Indian territories, obviously with an eye on the raw materials there.

It is reported that on 22nd June talks took place between a Lt. Gen of the Indian army and a Maj Gen of the Chinese army, in which the former demanded a timeline for withdrawal of troops to 2 kms from the Line of Actual Control as it existed before the Chinese intrusion.

In view of what has been said above, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese will comply.

It is high time now that our leaders realise this, and join hands with other countries like the USA and form a united front against Chinese expansionist imperialism, just like the united front formed by Russia, USA, Britain, and other countries against Hitler. That is the only way to prevent Chinese domination over us and other parts of the world


[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own].


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