India-China Ladakh Standoff: At the end of the eighth round of talks, the status quo continues

November 9, 2020 12:11 PM

Skirmishes are possible as troops are likely to fire first and ask questions later in case the Chinese PLA tries to carry out any monkey tricks to gauge the Indian Army’s action/reaction.

Referring to both India and China being members of the SCO and BRICS groupings, Babushkin said respectful dialogue is a main tool when it comes to cooperation in the framework of multilateral platforms.

By Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd)

On 6th November 2020 the Indian and Chinese Corps Commanders met for the eighth round of talks at Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

What does it imply?

The eyeball to eyeball standoff at the LAC is now a stalemate and neither the Indian Army nor the PLA is willing to step back from their current positions as it would be a disastrous move keeping in mind the deep mistrust in the written or spoken word of the Chinese Government. The Indian Army is not taking any chances of being forced on the back foot. The winter has set in and the troops are weathering the extreme cold weather and cannot let down their guard for a moment. In all likelihood, the troops in contact will ensure that they are not exposed to any misadventure by the Chinese to gain a position of advantage.

It’s assessed that this is likely to continue throughout the winters till the snow melts and the two sides get a chance to re-assess their options which are negligible on the table. The diplomatic and military talks will continue to in a bid to get the other side to agree to the point of view of the other. That is an impasse that cannot be easily broken.

The cost of this misadventure by the Chinese has to be imposed by democratic nations. The Malabar Naval Exercises, the change in the US Government and a possible change in the US Government’s approach from imposing a self-isolation from the international community in taking a predominant role in maintaining its position as the only Super Power in the world, may bring about changes, imposing a caution on Mr Xi Jinping’s dreams of a China-dominated world.

Winter has given an opportunity to the Indian Government to work out its options in a pragmatic manner to observe the likely changes in the global geo military alliances. Joe Biden’s administration is likely to be focused on the China Virus Pandemic and would need to take steps in which it needs to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus as well as reducing the number of deaths, within the US.

The status quo is not likely to change during the winter. Skirmishes are possible as troops are likely to fire first and ask questions later in case the Chinese PLA tries to carry out any monkey tricks to gauge the Indian Army’s action/reaction. The Modi – Xi Jinping virtual meets are yet to take place, its yet to be seen if both the leaders take the bull by the horn and give a direction to the military de-escalation or will they let it remain in a shade of grey and let it take its own course of action. This only time will tell, till then let’s hope good sense prevails and no military miss-adventure takes place.

(The author is Indian Army Veteran. Views expressed are personal)

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