AN eyeball to eyeball confrontation between the two countries has lingered ever since the forces of the two countries clashed at Galwan Valley on June-15-16 last year leading to the death of 20 Indian soldiers. The clash was one of the worst in 45 years and it nearly brought the two countries to the brink of war. Ever since eleven rounds of military talks for the disengagement process have taken place and this has so far led to withdrawal of Chinese and Indian troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Tso, albeit not to a complete status quo ante.
The neighbours still have three friction points at Depsang, Gogra and Hot Springs to sort out. And it can be hoped that a sustained engagement at the military and diplomatic level will lead to a mutually acceptable solution in these areas too. It will, however, be interesting to see if the status quo ante will be restored. And should that happen it will not only make LAC normal again but also further boost the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image at home.
The LOC-ization of the LAC that was expected to happen as a result of the year-long stand-off seems unlikely to play out. There are huge geo-political stakes for both the countries that can’t be ignored. A lingering state of confrontation between the two will not be in the interest of either. More so for India which would not want a 3800 km border with China become an extension of LOC with Pakistan. India has to do a tough balancing act between its thickening relationship with the US and that with the China. Truth is China’s rise on the global stage has become a reality.
For the world, China’s emergence as a global power is a fraught prospect with far reaching implications for the way international business is conducted. More so, when China brings to the table an alternative system: a communist capitalism versus west’s capitalist capitalism. What makes this global shift imminent is that Beijing is already rewriting the rules of the game and with each passing day advancing to seize what it sees as the Chinese century.
A pragmatic way out to resolve the lingering stand-off is through negotiations, even if it takes time. As we enter second year of the stalemate, it will be in the interest of both the countries to reach an understanding that also holds on the ground. But this can only happen if Beijing approaches the dialogue seriously.
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