- The India-China eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in the eastern Ladakh region is over two years old now. Nothing concrete appears to be emerging on reverting to earlier respective positions by the two big neighbors despite several rounds of talks between the military and diplomatic channels. With both countries staunchly sticking to their respective stands, there is hardly any scope for progress to be achieved. The resultant outcome is that bilateral ties have taken a strong hit largely affecting the trades. Also, the huge piling up of troops and military equipment along the border has rendered the line of actual control (LAC) a fluid area keeping both the forces on tenterhooks. As you are aware, efforts to reduce the tension along the LAC are still underway.
- In this direction, India and China agreeing to disengage troops in the Gogra-Hot Springs area in eastern Ladakh following the 16th round of the corps commanders meeting on September 08 is welcome news. It’s the fourth point at which disengagement has been agreed upon since the People’s Liberation Army’s incursions at different points in eastern Ladakh in the summer of 2020. Looking at the practicality on the ground, disengagement involves agreeing to buffer zones where the two countries will refrain from carrying out patrolling. Intriguingly, there’s been no agreement on disengagement in the strategically critical Depsand Plateau as yet. In other words, the present disengagement efforts do mean not much vis-à-vis substantial gains at border peace.
- Strategically speaking, the protracted negotiations to successfully reach agreements on disengagement at four points shouldn’t mask China’s strategic approach here. Note that the present situation amounts to an attempt at moving the LAC westward by deploying its army. Further, this step has been supplemented by using the air force to violate the mutually agreed no-fly zones near the border. This step has been supplemented by using the air force to violate the mutually agreed no-fly zones near the border. Mind you, these are not acts of a country that seeks to resolve border issues through negotiations but shows the intransigence measures adopted by Beijing or attempting to browbeat.
PC: Scroll Staff
- We know it’s a sign of a revisionist power that in the dispensation of President Xi Jinping has trampled on established norms and violated long-standing sovereign agreements. Given this context, India can not let its guard down, and neither can there be a return to the pre-2020 phase. Thus, building a network of strategic allies as an effective countering move against China is imperative. Japan is an important country in that context. India and Japan both members of the Quad, have a stake in strengthening a rules-based order and the principle of freedom of navigation. The pushback against China will take many forms, of which trade is one of the most important. A stronger emphasis on economic integration to draw in manufacturing supply chains seeking to exit china should be strongly pursued.