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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/23/20

China-India military-level marathon talks again fail to ease border standoff

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The 6th round of China and India marathon military talks ended Monday with India insisting for an early and complete disengagement of Chinese troops from friction points in eastern Ladakh while China rejected the Indian demand but "agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline".

It may be pointed out Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament last week that China is in illegal occupation of 38,000 square km of Indian land in Ladakh and it considers as its own another 90,000 square km territory in the eastern sector of the India-China boundary in Arunachal Pradesh.

Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted government sources as saying that the Indian team insisted on an early and complete disengagement of troops by Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) to end the four-and-a-half-month standoff, adding the agenda for the talks was to chart a specific timeline for implementation of the five-point agreement reached in talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on September 10.

China and India agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any action that may complicate the situation, Chinese National Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian was quoted by Global Times Tuesday as saying.

On Monday, Chinese and Indian senior commanders held the 6th round of the Military Commander-Level Meeting, during which the two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilizing the situation along the LAC in the China-India border areas, Wu said.

The two sides also agreed to hold the 7th round of the Military Commander-Level Meeting as soon as possible, take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area, Wu said.

Long Xingchun, president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, told the Global Times Tuesday that this does not necessarily solve the long-standing border disputes between China and India, but marks a critical step to prevent the current situation from escalating.

"This helps build up mutual trust. If the two sides still deploy troops to the frontline, it means they believe the other side is preparing for war. Now that they decided to stop sending more troops to the frontline, they are sending a signal to each other that they will try to solve the current conflict peacefully," Long said.

At the previous five rounds of Corps commander-level talks, the Indian side has insisted on complete disengagement of Chinese troops at the earliest, and immediate restoration of status quo ante in all areas of eastern Ladakh prior to April. The face-off had begun on May 5.

The fifth round of Corps commander talks on August 2 lasted for nearly 11 hours while the fourth round went on for nearly 15 hours on July 14. Monday's sixth round of talks lasted for more than 12 hours.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said on Tuesday that China and India held the 6th round of corps commander-level talks on Monday, in which the two sides exchanged views on the current border situation, before agreeing to continue talking and discussing the issue.

China aims at a world order in which India is a subordinate power

To borrow Manoj Joshi of Times of India, the room for compromise, assuming the Chinese actually want one, is limited. China has persistently and loudly insisted that Indians are doing all the provoking. This doesn't sound like a country looking for a compromise.

Chinese actions may not be motivated by concerns relating to eastern Ladakh alone, but part of a wider aim for a world order in which India is firmly established in its place as a subordinate power, Joshi said adding:

"By destabilizing the border, the Chinese are compelling India to step up its border defenses substantially. Year-round deployments in the heights will sharply escalate defense expenditure. A former financial adviser in MoD, Amit Cowshish, has recently argued that no enhancement in outlay can really bridge the chasm between what the armed forces need and what the government can provide. The Chinese goal could well be to do a Soviet Union on us by compelling us to divert our resources into military spending, pushing us away from the economic trajectory where India looked to besting China in the coming decades."

 

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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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