Are India-China LAC Negotiations Stuck Between ‘April & May’ Military Positions?

While Chinese PLA troops are beefing-up their positions south of Pangong Tso and facing Indian Army soldiers, Beijing believes that that meeting held between Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe might just reach a fruitful conclusion in solving the long ongoing border dispute.

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The 2 hours and 20 minutes-long meeting between the two nation’s top diplomats, their first major political contact in four months, was held on Friday (September 04) at Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, in a bid to diffuse tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

And, according to Beijing-based military experts, the meeting could have been just the breakthrough the two nations were looking for amid repeated clashes between the two powerful armies.

Hu Zhiyong, a Research Associate at the Institute of International Relations (IIR) of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), while speaking to Global Times said Rajnath’s decision to find a peaceful solution is a sign of promise in putting an end to the dispute.

     “India has also expressed a willingness to resolve the problem peacefully, and the reasonable and positive attitude shown by the Indian defence minister could mean that New Delhi has realized that aggressive moves by Indian troops in the border region won’t win any compromise from China,” said Hu

Defence Minister Wei, while addressing the meeting, which has been labeled to be “frank and in-depth”, stressed on how it was crucially important for the two nations to “maintain communication at all levels” and work together in de-escalating the situation while discouraging any ‘provocative actions’.

     “Both sides should scrupulously implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping and continue to solve the issues through dialogue and consultation, strictly follow the various bilateral agreements, strengthen the regulation of frontline troops and not undertake any provocative actions that might escalate the situation,”

Although both India and China refused to give in an inch of land in Ladakh or Aksai Chin, Hindustan Times writes that there were hints that both armies must return to the previous positions. The only issue was that China wanted the previous positions of May, while India was clear that PLA goes back to the positions it occupied in April this year.

The two sides should focus on the overall situation of India-China relations and work together to de-escalate the situation as soon as possible, and maintain peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas.” said Wei

After the recent skirmish between the militaries of the two at the Pangong Tso region, the Indian Army secured strategic heights at the South Bank of the lake, which was followed by the Chinese now deploying a major build-up of tanks and infantry in the disputed South Pangong region in eastern Ladakh.

In retaliation, the Indian side also decided to field reinforced tank formations and additional troops, in what they say will be a long-winter haul in the region. India continues to accuse the PLA of aggressive build-up in the south of Pangong Tso as it faces Indian Army soldiers at Rechin La in the Chushul Valley.