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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/18/21

'The Sino-Indian disengagement deal in Eastern Ladakh is a bad deal'

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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The Sino-Indian disengagement deal in Eastern Ladakh is a bad deal. Make no mistake it is an agreement on terms of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Unfortunately, it was perhaps the only one on the table and thus a fait accompli, says Mahesh Tewari, a former Minister.

The decision to disengage on the Southern bank of Pangong Tso, thereby giving up our tactical advantage on the Kailash range in return for China moving back to their base in Srijap east of Finger eight and India moving to its position on Finger three the Dhan Singh Thapa Post, can hardly be termed as a negotiating triumph, he writes in Deccan Chronicle.

The judgment not to have a broader disengagement all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) encompassing Depsan, Gogra, Hot Springs, Naku-la and the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, given that the Chinese have transgressed across our perception line of the LAC at all these places, has, in fact, de-facto legitimized the Chinese 1959 claim line, Tewari added.

Prawin Swahney, a Defense analyst, also said in a YouTube talk that India is likely to accept the 1959 LAC.

Tellingly, on September 28, 2020, the Chinese foreign ministry said that Beijing abides by the LAC proposed by Beijing in 1959. "Firstly, China-India border LAC is very clear, that is the LAC on November 7, 1959. China announced it in the 1950s, and the international community including India are also clear about it," the ministry said.

The next day India asserted it has never accepted the unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC), and pointed out that several agreements with China committed both countries to confirming and clarifying the alignment of the boundary.

"We have seen a report in the Hindustan Times, quoting a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement regarding China's position on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas," a ministry of external affairs (MEA) statement said. "India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC). This position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side," ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Lt. General H.S. Panag (retired)

Though the Centre has trumpeted the India-China disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh as a victory, Army veteran Lt. General H.S. Panag called it pragmatic acceptance of weakness and Beijing's 1959 claim.

In an exclusive interview with Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), Gen. Panag said that the "disengagement" is happening exactly as per China's 1959 claim line because India has no military capability to alter the situation.

However, he said, it is "good for the long-term peace" since the disengagement in Ladakh is likely a part of the broader plan for settlement of border disputes between the two countries. The plan, he presumed, will include acceptance of McMohan Line in Northeast with some give and take between New Delhi and Beijing, as per the 1959 proposal.

In 1959, China's then Prime Minister Zhou Enlai had proposed to the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru that the armies of both the countries withdraw 20 kms from the McMohan Line in the East and from the line up to which each side exercised actual control in the West. Through its intrusions since May, China has already reached the 1959 claim line in Depsang and north of Pangong Tso, according to General Panag.

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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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