India, China 17th round of Corps Commander Talks

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    • Recently, the 17th round of Corps Commander-level talks was held between India and China.

    More about the news

    • Location of the talks:
      • The talks were held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side.
    • Key highlights:
      • During the talks both sides agreed to continue dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a “mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest”.
      • The two sides exchanged views on the resolution of the relevant issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in an “open and constructive manner.
    • Significance of the talks:
      • The talks came 10 days after soldiers of the two armies clashed at the Yangtse area in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, resulting in injuries on both sides.
      • Since the standoff began in May 2020, the two sides have so far held 16 rounds of talks. 
      • Both sides disengaged from Pangong Tso in February 2021, from patrolling in the Gogra-Hot Springs area. This is in addition to the disengagement from Galwan in 2020 after the violent clash there.

    About the recent clash at Yangtse 

    • The Chinese troops unilaterally tried to alter the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Soldiers of the two sides clashed in an area called Yangtse, in the upper reaches of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh. 
    • The entire state itself, and within it, Tawang, are areas of serious contestation between India and China.

    • Significance of Tawang:
      • Historical:
        • Tawang is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and an important pilgrimage centre for Tibetan Buddhists. 
        • The 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Tawang after he crossed over from Tibet to India in 1959, spending some days in the monastery there before proceeding further.
      • Agreed area:
        • Within Tawang, there are three “agreed areas” of differing Indian and Chinese perceptions of the LAC. 
        • Yangtse, which is about 25 km from Tawang town, north of the Lungroo grazing ground, is one of these areas. 
        • As a result, it has been the site of regular “physical contact” between the Indian Army and the PLA, especially as the high ground is on the Indian side, giving it a commanding view of the Chinese side.

    Areas of dispute between India & China

    • There are infirmities in India’s boundary with China, both in the east and the west.
      • In the Western sector: 
        • Here India shares a 2152 km long border with China, and territorial disputes over Aksai Chin region of Jammu and Kashmir, with both countries claiming the region as their own.
        • The recent dispute is around the region of the northern bank of Pangong Tso lake, Demchok and the Galwan Valley. 
      • In the middle sector: 
        • Here India roughly shares about a 625 km long boundary with China with a few minor disputes regarding Tibet. 
      • In the Eastern Sector: 
        • Here India shares a 1,140 km long boundary with China and this boundary line is called McMahon Line. 
        • The major dispute here is around the region of Tawang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, Chumbi Valley (Dokalam Tri-Junction) which India shares with Bhutan.
    • China’s interest in Ladakh region:
      • China had never accepted the British-negotiated boundary agreements in northeastern Kashmir. 
      • China has traditionally been active in areas close to Ladakh given the significance of the Xinjiang-Tibet region in its domestic narrative. 
      • However, with its sights on an ageing Dalai Lama, and the issue of his succession, China may want to bring into focus its claims on Tawang, and the rest of Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Issues:
      • Over 50,000 troops and heavy equipment continue to be deployed on both sides, close to the LAC. 
      • In the last two years, China has also undertaken massive construction of infrastructure, habitat and support structures to maintain its troops close to the LAC, altering the ground status.
        • There are roads, helipads and airfields being built right upto the passes.

    Steps Taken by India

    • Developing Infrastructure: 
      • India has been improving its infrastructure in the border areas.
      • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) completed more than 100 projects in border areas, the majority of which were close to the border with China.
      • India is speeding up work on the Nimu-Padam-Darcha axis which is going to help troops move to Ladakh from other parts of the country.
    • Improved Surveillance: 
      • India is also improving its surveillance along the entire 3488-km boundary, and has been building new airstrips and landing areas.
    • Occupied key heights on the Kailash range: 
      • Towards the end of 2020, India outmaneuvered China to capture the previously unoccupied heights of the Kailash Range on the south bank of the lake.

    Way ahead

    • The problems in Jammu and Kashmir have become trilateral in nature, especially after the India-China standoff at the LAC in eastern Ladakh. 
    • Therefore, the solutions to these problems, acceptable to all concerned, can only come out of a trilateral dialogue.
    • India has constantly stated that the relationship cannot go back to normal as long as the standoff situation continues, and has repeatedly called for restoration of status quo and restoration along the LAC.

    Line Of Actual Control (LAC)

    • The LAC is the demarcation that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
    • For India  the LAC is 3,488 km long, while China considers it to be only around 2,000 km.
    • It is divided into three sectors: 
      • the eastern sector which includes Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, 
      • the middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and 
      • the western sector in Ladakh.
    • LAC in the eastern sector consisting of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim is called the McMahon Line which is 1,140 km long. 

    • Difference between LoC with Pakistan and LAC with China:
      • The Line of Control (LoC) is delineated on a map signed by DGMOs of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement. 
      • In contrast, The LAC is only a concept, it is not agreed upon by the two countries, neither delineated on a map or demarcated on the ground.

     

    Source: TH