Refuting allegations of the Chinese that the Indian Army has transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India has demanded the restoration of Status Quo Ante and immediate need for peace and tranquillity in the region.
Refuting allegations of the Chinese that the Indian Army has transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India has demanded immediate need for peace & tranquility and comprehensive disengagement. This was raised during talks between Indian and Chinese ministers on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Moscow organized by Russia on Thursday, Sept 10, 2020.
Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that, “External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a detailed discussion with the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi in Moscow on Sept 10, and the meeting lasted almost two and half hours. The massing of Chinese troops with equipment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was highlighted during the talks, as the presence of such large concentration of troops was not in accordance with the 1993 and 1996 Agreements. Also such a large deployment was creating flash points along the LAC.”
“There has been no explanation for the deployment from the Chinese side which has been disregarding the bilateral agreements and protocols. At the talks, India also pointed out the provocative behavior of Chinese frontline troops at numerous incidents of friction along the LAC.”
During talks India asserted the immediate need to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas — Chushul, Depsang and Pangong Tso, among others. “Despite several rounds of talks between the two sides, the tensions keep mounting, and the Indian side is keen to resolve the matters through talks.” sources added.
The recent incidents in eastern Ladakh has impacted the development of bilateral relations between the two countries, there is an urgent need for resolving the current situation. While acknowledging that resolving the border issue will take time and effort, India is urging the Chinese side to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas.
At the end of talks, a joint statement was released which stated “the two sides agreed that there is an urgent need to de-escalate in Ladakh, as the current situation in the border area is impacting the development of bilateral relations.” And, “The two sides should speed up the completion of new mutual trust-building measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquility in the border area.”
The two ministers were also part of the luncheon meeting among foreign ministers of the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping.
Last week defence minister Rajnath Singh had met with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in Moscow, and there too Indian side had pushed for an early resolution of the ongoing tensions along the LAC.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, a Corps Commander-level meeting between India and China is expected to take place soon.
What does an expert say?
Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU says, “From China’s standpoint, the standoff at Ladakh is not merely an act of acquiring a few areas of strategic significance. It views India as a strategic rival with a potential to challenge its dominance in the neighbourhood. India’s growing defence partnership with the US poses an additional challenge to China.”
“In the five point agreement between S Jaishankar and Wang Yi in Moscow, the first point is to “take guidance from the strategic consensus between the Chinese and Indian leaders that China and India are not competitive rivals or each other’s threats.” If this is the reason why China is intransigent on the Ladakh border, one should expect no headway in terms of de-escalation.”
“India would continue to strengthen its ties with the US. India would always be considered a rival by China because of its liberal democratic set up, its rising influence in Asia, its strategic ties with the US, border issues and the issue of Tibet. Similarly, China would remain an adversary because of border disputes, its support to Pakistan, its economic and military muscle, its attempts to block India’s entry into the United Nations Security Council and other nuclear regimes,” Prof Rajan Kumar opines.
Chinese strategists should understand that India’s is not making roads along the LAC to threaten China. It is only trying to develop basic infrastructural facilities to protect its territory at the LAC.
According to the JNU professor, “The best case scenario for the two countries is to avoid military standoffs and accidental confrontations at the border. There are established working mechanisms to avoid military faceoffs at the border. These mechanisms have served the two countries well, but in the last few years they have fallen short of stopping intermittent standoffs. If the two countries are really serious about avoiding standoffs, they need to have a clarity on the demarcation of the LAC and activities undertaken there. Misperceptions are often the cause of conflict between the two armies. India and China need to revisit the existing border mechanisms which are certainly not adequate in today’s time.”
“The meeting between the two foreign ministers, however, should be considered an important political step in addressing some of the immediate concerns on the border. They have clearly expressed that neither side wants to escalate the conflict any further. As reported by Xinhua, a Chinese news agency, “it is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may de-escalate.” Similar statements have been issued by the Indian side. This is a crucial decision and one hopes that it is implemented in its true spirit,” he observes.