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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/20/20

Another round of India-China talks to end border impasse fail

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India and China held another round of talks on Thursday in an effort to end the more than a three-month-long Ladakh standoff.

This was the fifth diplomatic-level talk since the stand-offs started in early May when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a fist fight.

The talks were held under the aegis of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India and China border. Joint secretary rank officers of the two countries discussed ways to break the logjam and pave for another episode of military-level talks at a senior level in the coming days.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the two sides had a "candid and in-depth" exchange of views on the existing situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

"The two sides were in agreement that restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas would be essential for the overall development of bilateral relations," Srivastava said at an online media briefing.

China increases surveillance on Army's central sector

The India-China diplomatic talks were held amid reports that China has increased its surveillance on the central sector of the Indian Army.

China has upgraded its surveillance system on the other side of Tun-Jun-La near Barahoti in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, according to Indian intelligence reports. India's border is till Tun-jun-la, three kilometres ahead of Barahoti. During the current tensions between India and China, China upgraded its surveillance devices across the LAC.

According to the report, China has installed two cameras rotating up to 180 degrees near the LAC. It has also installed several kinds of poles in that area. China has also built a large solar panel and a windmill in the area.

A small hut has been built in the area where different types of construction materials have also been kept, including surveillance. A surveillance system was installed in Tun Jun La (Barahoti) in September 2019 which was upgraded in June. This system and camera have been positioned in such a way that the PLA of China can keep an eye on the entire area of ""Barahoti.

What is the Line of Actual Control?

The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory. India considers the LAC to be 3,488 km long, while the Chinese consider it to be only around 2,000 km, Sushant Singh of Hindustan Times wrote on July 30, 2020.

It is divided into three sectors: the eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western sector in Ladakh.

The major disagreements are in the western sector. After India's devastating defeat in the 1962 War, the Chinese said they had withdrawn to 20 km behind the LAC of November 1959. During the Doklam crisis in 2017, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson urged India to abide by the 1959 LAC.

During his visit to China in May 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to clarify the LAC was rejected by the Chinese, according to Sushant Singh.

Interestingly, perception of Line of Control is not the same. India's claim line is the line seen in the official boundary marked on the maps as released by the Survey of India, including both Aksai Chin and Gilgit-Baltistan. In China's case, it corresponds mostly to its claim line, but in the eastern sector, it claims entire Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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