New Delhi: India-China border dispute took a new turn on Monday (July 6) as the first signs of tensions easing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was seen in the Chinese military’s limited pull-back from a number of points in the eastern Ladakh. The development took place a day after NSA Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreed on completing the ongoing disengagement process along the LAC.
Doval and Wang, who are designated ‘Special Representatives’ on Sino-India boundary question, held a telephonic conversation on Sunday during which they understood to have agreed that a “complete disengagement” of troops at the “earliest” was necessary for full restoration of peace in the border areas.
Three days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also visited Ladakh to give a clear message to China that India would not budge an inch on the LAC unless Chinese troops withdraw to their earlier positions. China’s decision to limited pull-back from a number of points has no doubt given India a diplomatic edge over the Communist nation, which of late exhibited its expansionist agenda.
According to sources, the Chinese army has gone back to its side from at least three places in Ladakh. China’s Foreign Ministry statement also made an official statement to show the disengagement process. China today said that Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reached “positive common understandings” over easing the current border situation and underlined the need to act promptly on the consensus reached by their military commanders to complete the disengagement of the front-line troops at the LAC as soon as possible.
It further said that the two sides “welcomed the progress achieved in the recent military and diplomatic meetings, agreed to stay in dialogue and consultation and stressed the importance to promptly act on the consensus reached in the commander-level talks between Chinese and Indian border troops, and complete disengagement of the front-line troops as soon as possible.”
The ongoing stalemate over the border row was also a challenge for China as India gave enough indications that it was ready to fight China on every front. India not only challenged China on the border but also started to put an economic as well as diplomatic pressure. It appears that China was not ready to face challenges on so many fronts.
The three points from where the Chinese army is stated to be retreating along the LAC in Ladakh include: the first place is the patrolling point 14 in the Galvan Valley; the second place is the Hot Springs; while the third place is Gogra. Near the patroling point 14, the troops of both the nations had a violent confrontation on the night of 15 June, in which 20 Indian soldiers martyred and 40 to 50 Chinese soldiers had died.
The withdrawal of the Chinese military from Patroling Point 14 will, however, be confirmed by the Indian Army through ground verification. This process is very important because India no longer trusts China, especially after the June 15 incident.
There have been three Corps Commander-level talks between the Indian and Chinese military. In the meetings of June 22 and June 30, they agreed that the forces of the two countries would withdraw from the confrontational situation on the LAC. India has clearly stated that the process of retreat would be verified for 72 hours after the disengagement process.
Meanwhile, China’s stand on the Pangong Lake is still unclear, while the Chinese army is stationed on Finger 4 after building bunkers and tents along with military equipment. This has become the most complicated issue between India and China after the Galwan Valley. India’s LAC is up to Finger 8 of Pangong Lake, but China has staked its claim on the Finger 2 and is currently sitting on the Finger 4.
Among several proposals discussed, one is to create a buffer zone near the collision sites along the LAC. The buffer zone means that until the negotiations at the diplomatic level are completed and the LAC is determined, a few kilometers of the area on the LAC will be barred for the troops of both the countries. The area will be patrolled by ITBP personnel from India and BDR personnel from China. The buffer zones will be created so that trust between the two countries can be restored and the army will protect the borders on its side of this buffer zone, according to sources.
If we look into the pages of history from the year 1962, the bone of contention was the Galwan Valley. China had then withdrawn its troops but came back to attack India within 100 days. It was also the month of July. The war ended a month later when China declared a ceasefire. Because of the past experience, India needs to remain vigilant until it is confirmed that China has retreated from the LAC with its military equipment.
China probably had thought that India would not be able to do anything against its infiltration, but within a few weeks, it has realized that India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed. In a two-month-long standoff, India has used all kinds of options against China.
From Apps to Maps, India gave a direct message to China on every front that it will not compromise. It has already banned 59 Chinese Apps, causing a loss of about Rs 37,000 crores to Chinese technology companies in the coming days. India also decided to cancel the contracts of Chinese companies in the telecom and railway sectors, besides blocking their entry into the highways and power sectors.
The last nail in the coffin was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ladakh, where he went to the extent of warning China. India’s diplomatic maneuver also played a key role and China has been isolated on the global front, with the US, Japan, and Australia openly giving statements in favour of India.