NEW DELHI: The violent clash between Indian and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Monday occurred despite India and China having at least five border agreements and other mechanisms aimed at defusing border tensions.
According to diplomatic experts, the agreements are heavily tilted in favour of China and hence have not resulted in the de-escalation of tensions along the LAC. Also, the experts say that there has been no clear demarcation of the LAC and both India and China have different perceptions of the border and that’s why clashes occur between the troops on the ground.
“The Chinese are irked with India ramping up its infrastructure along the LAC, the latest being the road leading to the Daulat Baig Oldi air base which was opened last October. Any number of agreements will not serve the purpose of solving the issue if the demarcation of the LAC is not made clear,” said Sinologist and Chairperson of the Institute of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, B R Deepak.
India and China have signed five agreements in the past with an aim to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border. They include the 1993 agreement of maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC, 1996 agreement of CBM (confidence building measure) in the military field along the LAC, 2005 protocol on the modalities of CBM in the military field along the LAC, 2012 agreement on the establishment of a working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs and 2013 border defence cooperation agreement.
Apart from the agreements, a joint working group with political representatives of both China and India was formed in the 1980s.
The JWG met several times but failed to reach any consensus on the border issue.Apart from the JWG, a special representative was appointed during PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time in a bid to lower tensions at the border.
However, parleys between the special representatives also failed to yield any result.
“National Security Adviser Ajit Doval himself has had several rounds of talks aimed at resolving border disputes. But there has been no fructification. Till we change our mindset and policy towards the Chinese, there would be no results yielded through the mechanisms that are in place,” Deepak said.
A former diplomat, who did not wish to be named, said India should also try and capture some territories like the Chinese.
“It is a far-fetched proposition but that is the only way out. The Chinese have a maximalistic approach and to get them to bend, this is the only strategy. We need to have bargaining chips to enter into a negotiation with China. As is evident, the treaties and agreements related to peace and tranquillity at the LAC have yielded no results. The unfortunate part is that if India continues to deal with China the way it has so far, there will only be skirmishes and fatalities but no resolution of the conflict,” he said.
JWG of political representatives failed, too
A joint working group with political representatives of both China and India was formed in the 1980s. The JWG met several times but failed to reach any consensus on the border issue.
Standoff turns fatal
May 5-6: Indian and Chinese armies clashed near the Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh. It was first such incident this year.
May 9: Another clash took place between the two troops — this time at Naku La in North Sikkim. Stones and batons were used. India and China moved additional troops along the LAC.
May 12: Chinese choppers were reportedly seen flying close to LAC. The IAF dispatched Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft to carry out sorties along the border.
May 23: Army Chief General Manoj Naravane visited the headquarters of 14 Corps in Ladakh.
May 26: Amid tension, PM Narendra Modi held a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, CDS General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs.
May 28: Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the PLA to broaden the battle preparedness, considering the worst-case scenarios.
June 2: Indian and Chinese Major General-rank officers held discussions on the controversial issues. The meeting, however, reportedly remained "inconclusive".
June 8: Amid military-level deliberations between India and China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a review discussion with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and three service chiefs.
June 12: Major General-level meeting held to resolve trouble areas in the Galwan Valley.
June 13: Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said the entire situation along the LAC was under control.
June 15: A Colonel and two jawans of the Indian Army were killed during a violent clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley while 17 other armymen injured in the clases succumbed later. The Army said there were 43 casualties on the Chinese side as well.