The talks between GOC (General Officer Commanding), 3 Division, and his Chinese counterpart came close on the heels of both sides carrying out ``small disengagement” indifferent locations along the LAC as part of the confidence-building measures.
On Wednesday, the meeting took place between the Divisional Commander’s of the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China at Patrolling Point 14; a point of dispute. The focus of the talks was resolving the month-long standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. “As things stand today, the only positive of the division commander level talks held on Wednesday at Galwan Valley seems to be that both sides are at least talking to each other,” say experts.
The talks between GOC (General Officer Commanding), 3 Division, and his Chinese counterpart came close on the heels of both sides carrying out “small disengagement” indifferent locations along the LAC as part of the confidence-building measures.
What do Military experts say?
The cordial meeting and its outcome were along the expected lines. The Indian side has asked the Chinese to pull back the 6000 additional troops that were brought in, apparently, the right noises must have been made, the intent of a pullback is not known. “In the background of current developments, India would need to introspect the meaning of Chinese assurances and confidence-building measures all along its long borders,” urge experts.
According to Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd), “A few questions that are not being spoken about in the Indian Media is, what is the current Chinese deployment Vis a Vis pre-May 2020 deployment. If the PLA has made ingress into an area, not defined due to ‘perception issues’; then why have we agreed to pull back? In 1999 and now we deviated from standard practices of forward deployment; is this not something that needs to be introspected? In view of no clear rules of engagement Indian Army and PLA are unique in the World, who carry signboards to indicate that LAC violation has taken place; why be so servile, historically an aggressive stance has kept the PLA at bay, this has eroded over the years, enough examples are on Social Media quoting Gen Sagat and Gen Hanut. In 1999, Cdr 121(I) Infantry Brigade was removed from Command; who is the scapegoat this time will unravel with time as will the Chinese intentions”.
“A major point of concern remains that we are focussed on what is visible in front of us in the areas of dispute. Strategic Analysts have put in print media their assessments of long term plans in the Aksai region, their military presence in Pakistan; and Pakistan in no position to disallow its all-weather friend to do a Military build-up on the Western Flank of India,” Lt Col Channan opines.
“The conflict is real. It’s time to look the dragon in the eye if need be hit his snout and his family jewels, we are prepared and have nothing to be afraid of. It’s a political decision, let’s go beyond the political rhetoric which we hear daily on the news channels,” he concludes.
Sharing his views Brig NK Bhatia (retd) says, “First and foremost we need to explore and pin point the reasons for China to have done what it has done. India seemed to have reconciled to the idea of peaceful co-existence after so-called meaningful and fruitful talks with Chinese leadership in the spirit of Wuhan and Mallapuram bilateral engagements at the highest levels after having overcome the Doklum standoff.”
In the background of current developments, India would need to introspect the meaning of Chinese assurances and confidence-building measures all along its long borders.
“The second important issue that India would need to grapple would be plans for continued enhanced deployment of troops and heavy equipment in high altitude terrain on a continuing basis even at the height of treacherous weather conditions of winter months. With curtailed defence spending and restructuring of manpower, that would put additional strains on limited resources available to the armed forces,” Brig Bhatia opines.
In Brig Bhatia’s view “The violation of borders by China has generated a groundswell of animosity amongst people across all spectrums of society. That will only force a common Indian to rethink about anything Chinese. In the context of an overall bleak economic scenario that would only exacerbate the economic situation.”
“Eventually the two sides will disengage but that will require a series of hard negotiations and some give and take, both at the military as well as diplomatic levels and that in some way may alter the ground situation as well. This will surely lead to some heartburns and political slugfest as well,” he says.
Adding, “We will continue to discuss the geopolitical reasons and global ramifications of Chinese actions for days to come but the seeds of mistrust between the two global giants would take years to mend.”
What happened during talks on Wednesday?
According to sources the Div Commander level talks took place as per the schedule and lasted for almost four hours.
The two sides took forward the discussions which happened last Saturday.
Several more rounds of both military, as well as diplomatic level talks, are expected to take place over the new few days.
While the Indian side has demanded that the Chinese side maintain the status quo along the LAC as of April, Pangong Lake remains a matter of contention.
What India is seeking is that the Chinese troops build-up along the LAC in the Galwan Valley is pulled away. Also, they should move away from the Hot Spring Area and the Finger 4 area of the Pangong Lake.