After taking down a monthly report which spoke of “unilateral aggression” by China in Ladakh, the Ministry of Defence has removed from its website all monthly reports since 2017.
These include those relating to the period of the Doklam crisis in 2017 which hadn’t mentioned the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops. The Ministry of Defence did not respond to queries from The Indian Express on the removal of the monthly reports of the Department of Defence, but sources in the Ministry said the earlier reports will be back on the website “soon”, “likely within October”.
Sources indicated that the internal mechanism for preparation and sharing it publicly is being cleaned up to make them more “comprehensive” rather than being a list of updates received from each arm of the Ministry.
Each report, sources said, goes past senior officials before it is made public. These reports are usually silent on major operations – for example, the Balakot air strike, the India-Pakistan dogfight, the Doklam deployment.
Before all the monthly reports since 2017 – those prior to it were never available on the website – were removed, the Ministry had taken down the report for June 2020 in August.
That report said, “Chinese aggression has been increasing along the LAC and more particularly in Galwan Valley since 5th May, 2020” and “the Chinese side transgressed in the areas of Kugrang Nala, Gogra and the north bank of Pangong Tso lake on 17–18 May, 2020”.
It mentioned the June 15 clashes in Galwan Valley, and stated that senior military commanders were in talks. It cautioned that “while engagement and dialogue at military and diplomatic level is continuing to arrive at mutually acceptable consensus the present standoff is likely to be prolonged”.
The joint report for April and May did not mention Chinese aggression, but it did point to the crisis along the LAC without going into specifics.
In the reports since August 2019, there were four mentions of China: a meeting of the “India-China Joint Working Group” on August 13-14, 2019; “the Joint Army Exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ between Indian Army and PLA, China was conducted from 7th – 20th December, 2019 in Umroi Cantt, Meghalaya”; the February 5, 2020 sighting of a Chinese warship, Jiangwei-Il, in Pakistani waters not far from Porbandar; and, the March 2020 report on the construction of a Bailey bridge by the BRO “to meet strategic requirements and ensure connectivity to 451 villages in Upper Subansiri District bordering China”.