Activation of the WMCC on India-China Border Affairs

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    In News

    • Indian and Chinese officials hold talks on border standoff in Beijing.

    About

    • Indian and Chinese officials have recently held diplomatic talks in Beijing on the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
    • The Indian side at the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) meeting was led by the joint secretary (East Asia) from the external affairs ministry.
    • India has insisted on disengagement of front-line troops to help restore normalcy in bilateral ties.
    • The WMCC on India-China Border Affairs was activated after the face-off on the Line of Actual Control began in May 2020.
    • The recent meeting in Beijing is the first in-person meeting of the body since then.
    • The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.
    • The talks were held in an “open and constructive manner”, but there was no indication of any breakthrough.
    • The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in 2020.
    • Previously, the military and diplomatic talks have helped in the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

    Major friction points along the India-China border

    • Depsang Plains: This area is located in the northernmost part of Ladakh and has seen incursions by Chinese troops in the past.
    • Demchok: This area is located in eastern Ladakh and has seen disputes over the boundary between India and China.
    • Pangong Lake: This area has been a major flashpoint between the two countries, with Chinese troops attempting to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region.
    • Gogra and Hot Springs: These two areas are located in eastern Ladakh and have seen standoffs between Indian and Chinese troops in recent years.
    • Arunachal Pradesh: This northeastern Indian state is claimed by China as part of its territory and has been a major point of contention between the two countries.

    Importance of Peace for India and China

    • Economic cooperation: India and China are two of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies and improved relations can help to increase trade and investment.
    • Regional stability: India and China are two major powers in Asia, and their relations have a significant impact on regional stability.
    • Border security: A peaceful relationship between the two countries is essential to maintain border security and avoid any conflicts or misunderstandings along the border.
    • Geopolitics: India and China are both major players in the global geopolitical landscape whose peaceful co-existence is essential to create a more stable and predictable international environment.

    Challenges of India-China peace process:

    • Border Disputes: Despite several rounds of talks, the two sides have not been able to reach a lasting solution to the border dispute especially along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
    • Strategic Competition: India and China are both major regional powers and have competing interests in the region which has led to strategic competition in areas such as trade, infrastructure development, and influence in neighbouring countries.
    • Differences in Political Systems: India is a democracy, while China is a one-party state this differences in political systems have led to a lack of mutual trust and understanding.
    • Military Build-up: The military build-up by both countries along the border has increased tensions and made the peace process more challenging.
    • Historical Issues: Historical issues, including the 1962 Sino-Indian War, continue to affect relations between the two countries.
    • Geopolitical Factors: Geopolitical factors, such as the increasing role of the United States in the region, have also added to the complexity of the India-China peace process.

    Way ahead

    • India-China peace process requires sustained efforts from both sides to address these challenges and build mutual trust and understanding.
    • There is a need to continue discussions through military and diplomatic channels and to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries to further stabilize the border situation.
    • Overall, peace between India and China is essential for the economic, political, and strategic interests of both countries, as well as for regional and global stability.

    Source: TH