On Saturday, top military generals from China and India met to resolve a monthlong standoff between their troops along the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC).
While neither party disclosed specific details about the talks or provided any concrete steps toward a resolution, the outcome of the meeting is believed to be positive.
India’s Foreign Ministry released a brief statement that offered reassurance that both nations were committed to a peaceful resolution stating, “Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations.”
The statement also cited the prior establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and affirmed that the peaceful and early resolution of the current dispute would further contribute to the development of their relationship. It also hints at last October’s summit meeting where the two nation’s leaders, Narendra Modi of India and Xi Jinping of China, woodenly expressed their intent to set aside their history of conflict in order to increase security and economic cooperation.
Despite general agreement that both parties would cease military operations in the area for now, many suspect that the conflict is still far from resolved.
According to Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a senior international relations analyst based in New Delhi, while Saturday’s meeting allowed both parties to exchange their perspectives on the issue, he remains wary of an immediate resolution.
“Changing the status quo through incremental encroachment in disputed territory has become a permanent feature of Chinese foreign policy and I do not see any signal of change in China’s behavior,” he told SCMP.
According to the Chinese state-owned tabloid newspaper Global Times, Chinese analysts stated their belief that the conflict would not be properly resolved until India stops their “provocative acts” and “petty tricks” along the border.
“The Indian military must halt any constructing defense facilities across the border into Chinese territory … and stop crossing the border to create conflicts,” said Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator.
The Global Times article also suggested that India’s “seemingly friendly rhetoric” was deliberately revealed to appeal to Western media in an attempt to pressure China to resolve the dispute in a diplomatic manner.
However, while further negotiations may be needed for resolution, at this moment military action remains unlikely.
“The border tension this time will not escalate into a bigger problem, as neither side wants it to develop into a major confrontation,” stated Long Xingchun – president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, an independent think tank based in China.
Citing China’s current political tensions with the United States, the economic fallout due to the pandemic and building tensions with Hong Kong, Long stated that “resolving the current India-China dispute is not high on the agenda of the Chinese government”
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