The eye to eye contact between the troops of the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA have been resolved after protracted discussions between the Military Leadership on both sides duly assisted by the representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The agreed withdrawal from PP 15 – Gogra/ Hot Springs has to be seen to assuage the current environment and make it more cordial for the leadership to meet and discuss issues of mutual concern,” says an Indian Army Veteran Lt Col Manoj K Channan.
This does not mean that the salami slicing of the Line of Actual Control by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China will stop. “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership has in all its statements been indicating that India and China have many areas of cooperation; the border issues remain and will be resolved through dialogue. Till then the Indian Army has to remain vigilant as the Chinese are not to be trusted,” he opines.
The 20th National Congress of the CCP will be held on October 16th, the delegates are likely to elect Xi Jinping for the third term.
The SCO Heads of State Council will be held onSeptember 15-16 in Samarkand. Uzbekistan took over the chairmanship of the organization from Tajikistan on September 17, 2021. It is expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping are likely to meet on the sidelines and the border issue would be one of the agenda points.
What does this mean?
According to Lt Col Manoj K Channan, Indian Army Veteran, “This once again proves that differences can be settled by keeping your powder dry and not getting into a fire fight. While the PLA has been aggressively building up its infrastructure along the line of actual control, which is being mirrored by the Indian Defence Forces, to prevent any incursions along the perceived line of actual control.”
“The withdrawal is to be reviewed holistically and not be seen as a sign of weakness of the PLA. China has been aggressive towards Taiwan in particular after the visit of the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August. China in response has stepped up its military harassment, sending warships, warplanes and even drones towards the island and carried out live fire exercises to put pressure on Taiwan,” Lt Col Channan opines.
Kargil war veteran Maj Gen Ashok Kumar, VSM, (retd) welcoming the current withdrawal on PP 15 said, “Now, that leaves only the withdrawal pending from the Depsang and Demchok, which in any case remains a complex issue. Hopefully, this momentum, once supported by the political hierarchy, will be able to find out some solution to the balance issues.”
Closer home the PLA Air Force has been aggressive in flying close to the Line of Actual control and this issue was flagged during the 16th round of meeting between both the sides in March this year.