Amid heightened India-China border tensions, top Indian and Chinese army officials are expected to meet for the third time in Leh. Experts say that China is keener than India to de-escalate as Beijing fears continued border tensions could get India firmly in the US camp, a scenario that Beijing dreads.
“This time the talks will be held in Chushul on the Indian side. The last two meetings were held in Moldo on the Chinese side,” said sources, adding that the agenda of the meeting would be to take forward the proposals made by both the countries for disengagement. “All contentious areas during the current standoff will be discussed to stabilise the situation,” sources added.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, a deadly clash erupted between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley where 20 Indian soldiers and an unconfirmed number of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops were killed.
Those were the first losses faced by the Indian Army in a border clash with the PLA troops since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by the Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian media quoting key sources state that Indian Army troopers were outnumbered by 1:5 ratio when they came under attack from the PLA soldiers at Patrolling Point 14 along the India-China border. “The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troopers. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA soldiers.
Chinese Experts talking to EurAsian Times state that global anti-China sentiment has reached its zenith since the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and China’s belligerent diplomacy.
China already has frigid ties with Australia and Japan; has been criticized for actions in South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and is undergoing the lowest point in its ties with the US and Canada.
Like elsewhere, many Indians also accuse blame China for the spread of the coronavirus and have lamented Beijing for its aggressive behaviour at India-China border.
What exactly happened in the Galwan Valley on June 15 that led to fatalities of soldiers on both sides remains unclear. Experts say that China must deal with a nationalistic neighbour (India) judiciously, as voices for ostracising Chinese goods and contracts grow louder in India.
Experts state that amid growing US-China struggle, Washington is trying to consolidate the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as “the Quad”, with Japan, Australia and India. It has pushed New Delhi to play a bigger role in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China.
Unlike Japan and Australia, which are unquestionably with the US, India has been apprehensive not to provoke China, even as it amplifies ties with the US.
If Beijing reacts to the deadly India-China border clash as vigorously as New Delhi does, it runs the risk of breeding hostility between the two nations and driving India further into the US camp. India’s formal military alliance with the US would be a nightmare for China.
Despite boosting military might, Chinese state media has been indirectly pressing India to focus on the economy while dissuading New Delhi from joining the US-led alliance.
Experts believe that to avoid creating too many opponents and forcing India closer to the US, China will have to de-escalate border tensions with India at any cost. Beijing, at present, may not have a consensus on how to handle the India-China border tensions, but they would not want to lose the Indian neutrality at any cost.