There have been multiple reports by various experts and publications as a matter of the investigation into the origin of the Chinese Virus. And there is that the human-to-human pattern that has been observed where countries that are adversity to China have been badly hit by the Chinese Virus pandemic. Also, there have been reports of China strengthing its position in East Ladakh where India and China have been in a standoff since May last year which was followed by Galwan face-off where 20 Indian Army soldiers including the Commanding officer of 16 Bihar Regiment attained Veergati and 45 Chinese soldiers were killed in action. India gained the advantage by capturing higher peaks in the area. Gen. Gurmit Singh (Retd) talks about China’s Role in developing the bioweapon and how China and WHO misinformed the world about the threats of a pandemic. He also talks about the current situation in East-Ladakh.
Lt Gen Gurmit Singh PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM superannuated as Deputy Chief of Army Staff, after nearly Forty Years of Service. Distinctively he held two PSO appointments i.e. Adjutant General and Deputy COAS. He Served in Kashmir from 2005 to 2014, as Brigade Commander in Baramulla, Brigadier General Staff in Srinagar, GOC Counter Insurgency Force in Kishtwar – Doda – Ramban, and as Corps Commander 15 Corps in Srinagar. He had been Director China and Addl DGMO in Military Operations. Had visited China seven times for Expert Group/Joint Working Group/ Annual Dialogue. Led Military delegation to Beijing, Urumchi, and Shanghai.
Goa Chronicle: China’s actions seemed to be suspicious. It was doing muscle flexing while the entire world was and still is fighting the covid 19 pandemic. Looking at the pattern of virus mutation it has affected the countries badly who China considers as its adversary. Also, China has got a history of epidemics in 1957, 1968, 1997, and 2003. Looking at various reports which have been published by various publications and experts do think China was carrying out experiments to weaponize virus?
Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh: Based on various reports and documents emerging from America and Australia, and also from some Chinese too, indicate that the Chinese were attempting to weaponize Corona Virus as part of Bio Warfare.
President Xi Jinping’s visit to Mahabalipuram was a continuation of the Informal Summit that was started at Wuhan when India’s Prime Minister visited China. The world was looking at the Informal Meeting Summit of the two leaders and was anticipating the betterment of the bilateral relationship. But, unfortunately at the end of 2019, it was a massive surprise for the world. China had betrayed the entire world. WHO and China, and its related complexities, seem as if they partnered with it. They had misinformed the world, on its origin and the fact, which it emanated from Wuhan. In 2019, there was a large number of social media inputs from China itself, which had reported an outbreak of flu-like ailment that attacks lungs.
Unfortunately, China and WHO combined, wanted to certify that it was a normal ailment. They even attempted to convey to the world that the flights departing from Wuhan were safe. As a global citizen, I would like to thank Taiwan. They were the ones who warned the world in December 2019 that a new disease that had human to human transmission had started in Wuhan. It was only on 23 January, that China had ordered indefinite lockdown in Wuhan.
Firstly, in the period between November 2019 and 23rd January 2020, errors, blunders, and deliberate mistakes were committed by China and the WHO. They attempted to convey to the world that the virus was not transmittable from a human to a human, which was a big lie.
Secondly, they exercised misinformation and deceived entire mankind.
Thirdly, they opted for belligerence, expansionism, and opening all conflictual fronts. This was evident with their provocative actions from the beginning of May 2020 in East Ladakh. It was not just localized to East Ladakh; the same belligerence was evident in the South China Sea and against Taiwan. China also opted for wolf diplomacy, which was abundantly evident in their deteriorating diplomatic relationship with Australia, Europe, and many other countries of the world.
With regards to China experimenting on the virus, from the reports that are emanating, they had started research of this virus as early as 1999. It is important to note Wuhan Institute of Virology was given the BSL clearances by WHO, which was the highest grade of safety. The research was mainly in the hands of PLA scientists and their leadership from the beginning. If you look at PLA warfare and techniques, they have always focused on indirect warfare and unrestricted warfare. Of late, they have been focusing on the Three W’s of warfare that is Media warfare, Psychological/ Propaganda warfare, and Legal warfare. The Chinese are aware that they lack combat experience. The last time they fought the war was in 1979, where they were defeated. China is also aware, PLA doesn’t have quality soldierly skills and potential, it is just an Armed Wing of the Chinese Communist Party that is used to control Chinese people.
Goa Chronicle: I particularly mentioned bioweapon as I was going through a US government report leaked by WikiLeaks where they have mentioned advanced sub-delivery technology and pharmacogenomics could be used to develop and deliver with greater efficiency new bioweapon perhaps even selectively targeting certain racial or ethnic groups. From when did China work on weaponizing the virus?
Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh: I agree with you; if you go deeper into the investigation and inquiry about Chinese attempt to develop this virus, as a bioweapon or bioterror, one finds that the Chinese were indeed working on enhancing the toxicity of this virus, indicating that they had planned to create a more virulent form of the pathogen. They were working on the gain of Function Research, which relates to altering this virus to be more lethal: It is not a secret anymore. There are documents and reports to show their military scientists were working on weaponizing the coronavirus in 2015. It seems that they were planning it for future conflict with the Coronavirus as a bioweapon. There are also inputs from Americans, that they were aware of Chinese bio warfare attempts, research, and efforts. Chinese desired to exploit this opportunity to gain an advantage and leverage with the new era of this genetic weapon. China’s mission was to gain upper hand in enhancing their bio-warfare capabilities so that they could paralyze and collapse the enemy’s medical system. Dr. LiMeng Yan in the United States conveys that it is the PLA, who were working on weaponizing the Virus in their military lab and probably it leaked from there. The truth can never be kept under the carpet, even if the carpet is of China, Wuhan, or WHO. The truth would tumble out despite all efforts to block it.
Goa Chronicle: Has the world failed to hold China and WHO accountable? What steps we must take to hold China and WHO accountable for the deaths of more than 3 million global citizens?
Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh: The World must hold China and WHO accountable for the Coronavirus. The investigation and fact-finding must continue. Unfortunately, Eighteen months have passed, and the world has lost more than three and a half million global citizens and we still do not know the origin of the Coronavirus. The perpetrators and those responsible for this catastrophe and the pandemic must be brought to the book. Former US President Donald Trump was direct in blaming China. He is the one who labelled it as Chinese Virus. WHO has failed in their responsibilities. WHO is responsible for the global inquiry on the aspect of where the coronavirus emanated from. Entire mankind and humanity need to know the truth about coronavirus. This virus, artificially altered by the Gain of Function Research by the Chinese is changing its variant and mutant proportionality every day. At this juncture, the United States has lost more than 6 lakh citizens, must lead the inquiry for the sake of the world. China in itself is reluctant to co-operate in this investigation. China seems fundamentally incorrect in the intentions on the subject of the coronavirus. Not only the United States but the newly formed QUAD which is a substantial force in itself must set up an inquiry as far as the investigation of the coronavirus is concerned. WHO leadership must change and the new leadership should be truthful in finding out the origins of the virus.
Goa Chronicle: What is happening in East Ladakh now? As there have been reports that they are strengthening their positions and also they have deployed their missile batteries.
Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh: In 2020, positively, not just our Armed Forces but the entire nation had united into oneness mode, wherein every citizen enjoined to boycott Chinese products. The Government took a hard stand against China by banning their applications. There is a fundamental difference between India and China at this moment as to how to progress disengagement in East Ladakh. While India would like to prioritize disengagement, de-escalation, and de-induction in East Ladakh, on the other hand, China would like this conflict to continue but would also like to carry out business as usual and enhancing the bilateral Chinese.
China is concerned, the growing and evolving India-US Bilateral Relationship. America has continued with its Bi-Partisan focuses, as far as the Chinese threat is concerned. 2+2 Security Dialogue and enhancing defence cooperation are a clear indication of the growing India-US relationship.
There are reports that China has been strengthening its positions opposite East Ladakh and have deployed additional rocket forces in the depth areas. Intelligence reports indicate that the PLA has carried out the rotation of troops. Eleven rounds of military-level talks have been held and also numerous meetings of the Working Mechanism of Coordination and Consultation at a diplomatic level. The first Phase of disengagement in the North and South bank of the Pangong-Tso was executed with absolute speed, as India was dominating Chinese areas significantly. After that, there has not been much progress, as far as further disengagement is concerned, especially in the areas of Gogra Heights, Hot Springs, and Depsang. Although the situation in these three areas is not very sensitive, as it does not alter the status-quo of LAC. There is a need for India to be alert and calls for continuous intelligence and surveillance of Chinese activities. We must be operationally ready. The conflict and the threat from China remain. Indian Army and the nation have no trust in China, which was evident on 15th June 2020 in Galwan and in August 2020 in other areas of LAC.
We are aware that coronavirus has emanated from China. China may be calculating on developing leverages and deterrence values in East Ladakh. They may be linking it to an overall perspective, with South China Sea, Taiwan, and US-China cold war calculus. The speed of disengagement has slowed down and the next military level meeting for the progress on the issue of disengagement, de-escalation, and de-induction from this area is still awaited.
Goa Chronicle: We have learned our lessons from Chinese actions in East Ladakh last year and I believe the PLA has too, having said that do you think China will attempt a misadventure this summer in East Ladakh?
Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh: Firstly, the biggest lesson that the Indian Armed forces and the Nation have learned is that we can’t trust China. Chinese dishonoured the Five Agreements; the last firing on the LAC was in 1975 in Tulung La, Arunachal Pradesh. They dishonoured the Agreements when the entire world was gripped with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many lessons have been learned by the Chinese, also.
Secondly, they learned that they don’t have combat experience, skills, and efficiency. The professional standards of PLA are rather low, they have the least combat experience. They also learned that to cover up the losses they had to exercise misinformation campaigns and also hide the truth from their people. They got defeated in East Ladakh., they may be keeping this flank of conflict open to gain leverages and deterrence. It does not augur well for the two oldest civilizations and nations with one billion-plus population that they both have not been able to solve their border issues till now.
China is exercising belligerence, expansionism, and conflictual strategies on all fronts, be it the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, and with most of the nations they share a land border or maritime border. US-China cold war is at its apex and is moving up with new trends with complex dynamics. There are many vulnerabilities and sparks, which can initiate and escalate conflicts. China is concerned about the India-US relationship and the way the QUAD has come up. Hence, East Ladakh as leverage, deterrence, and an option for diplomatic advantage with India may be their strategic calculus. China has strengthened its troop’s in-depth areas, military equipment has not been reduced and training continues. We need to be ready for any eventuality and contingency.
Read Part 2 of the Interview here:
In conversation with Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh (Part 2)
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author