India has demanded to retreat from the position where the Chinese military has positioned itself in the Depsang area
Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi are anticipated to meet at the upcoming BRICS Summit in Africa and later in New Delhi’s scheduled G-20 Summit following the 19th round of Corps Commander-level meeting between China and India as an effort to resolve “2020 Standoff in Eastern Ladakh”.
On the upcoming 22-24 August of 2023, South Africa is about to host the 15th Annual BRICS Summit where global top-giants like Russia, India, China, and many other countries are going to participate. Where Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping are about to come face to face as the tension regarding “2020 Standoff in Eastern Ladakh” remains between two countries. Jinping and Modi are expected to have another potential meet at September’s scheduled G-20 Summit in New Delhi. Prior to that Commanders of both countries sat for the 19th round of meeting in the Chushul-Moldo border area.
19th Round of Meeting
The meeting took place on 14th August of 2023 in Chusul-Moldo border area of Eastern Ladakh Region. Where official troops of India and China sat for the 19th time focusing on the standoff of 2020 and disengagements of troops from the remaining fractions in Eastern Ladakh. The meeting also has discussion on the overall situation in the border areas and ways to improve relations between the two countries. The 19th round of this Military Talk is a part of consistent efforts to ease the three-year stand-off along the “Line of Actual Control” (LAC) – the effective Himalayan border between the two countries – following a deadly clash in May 2020.
Current State of 2020 Standoff
Three years ago, in the Galwan Valley incident, Chinese troops intruded into the Indian territory. Both sides suffered casualties in the clash at their respective camps. Following that, discussions on troop withdrawal have been ongoing between the two countries. As a result, in 2021, both nations pulled back their troops from the extended areas of the Gogra Hot Springs and Pangong Lake. India returns to its position at Dhan Singh Thapa Post between Finger 2 and Finger 3.On the other hand, the Chinese troops retreated from Finger 8. Currently, the area between Finger 3 and Finger 8, a ten-kilometer stretch, is designated as the ‘Buffer Zone’. The opposition of Modi claims, due to the troop withdrawal, the Indian Army has lost the right to patrol the extended area between Finger 3 and Finger 8. Before the clashes in Galwan in 2020, the Indian troops were able to patrol those points. However, India conceded that area to China through the negotiated agreement. Although the Indian government under Narendra Modi’s leadership claims that no land has been lost to the Chinese military, it contradicts the fact.
Reasons for Previous 18 Attempts being Unfruitful
- Both India and China have different interpretations of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as there is no clear demarcation of LAC and where it actually lies.
- India and China have a long history of mistrust and conflict since 1962 war.
- Both India and China have competing strategic interest in the Himalayan Region and both countries are reluctant to give up any territory.
The 19th round of Military Talk is being considered significant to normalize the tension between China and India. Lieutenant General Rashim Bali, the Chief of the Leh-based 14 Corps led the meeting on behalf of India and Lieutenant general Liu Lin, the Commander in Chief of the Southern Xinjiang Military District represented China as lead in the meeting. The meeting highlighted the urgency of restoring the situation from three years ago on the Indian side and pulling back Chinese troops from the Depsang and Demchok areas.According to sources, India has expressed its demand to retreat from the position where the Chinese military has positioned itself in the Depsang area in the meeting. The presence of the Chinese troops in that area poses a significant strategic threat for India keeping the strategically important Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip unprotected. Moreover, as the China’s troop came forward, India cannot exercise surveillance effectively in that area. Consequently, China has also moved ahead by relinquishing its position in the Demchok area with their bunkers. India has urged to China for withdrawing every possible bunker whether they are solid or rooted.
In addition to military meetings, China’s new Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has meeting on a diplomatic level in Indonesia on July,2023. The two legislators discussed the border issue and mutual interests for their countries. Jaishankar stated that the talks were positive and constructive and both sides agreed to continue dialogue related to concerned issues.“India is committed to find peaceful resolution to border issue”, Jaishankar added. In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged New Delhi to stabilize ties for the benefit of both sides.
Despite the 18th round of meeting of April, 2023 failed to constitute any resolutive breakthrough, the two countries are still willing to continue their dialogue on the 2020 Standoff in Eastern Ladakh, it can be taken as a positive sign towards possible resolve. It should be mentioned that a bilateral meeting between Xi and Modi during next week’s BRICKS summit is not confirmed yet, but the heat of situation is promising. Lastly, in last November’s G-20 Summit at Bali, Modi and Jinping shook hands and exchanged pleasantries when they met on the sidelines. Following the incident, Indian foreign ministry