Maj Gen SB Asthana for First Post
The 13th round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China ending at an awkward note was not a surprise to anyone analysing Chinese activities prior to the talks. The talks happened in the backdrop of recent incidents of intrusions by Chinese troops in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. It also coincided with a heavy buildup of troops and modern arsenal along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and the building of permanent structures in areas which China had encroached in April 2020, a vacation of which was the main purpose of the talks. It was, therefore, amply evident that China was in no mood to concede anything and went through the talks for optics. Post disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh from north and south of Pangong Tso and some disengagements in Gogra, no disengagement in other areas such as Depsang plains and Hot Spring, Demchok, and thus no de-escalation, was a foregone conclusion.
The Chinese intention to coerce India to resume business as usual, sidelining the border/LAC issue and not insist on a further pullback was refuted by India earlier when it conveyed that disengagement at all friction points leading to de-escalation, peace and tranquillity on borders are prerequisites to progressing smooth bilateral ties. This rightful Indian stance to get back to pre-April 2020 positions stands adversely affected by Chinese obnoxious allegations of “India pushing for unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which is creating difficulties in negotiations”.
In recent times, almost 80 percent of Chinese top leaders including President Xi Jinping have visited Tibet/Xinjiang. Massive infrastructure development in terms of airstrips, rail, road network to border towns like Nyngchi, accommodation and other activities are worth monitoring for India to strategise its responses.
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