Drawn Stand-off

IN their last meeting on November 19, India and  China  agreed to hold the next round of military talks at an early date to achieve the goal of complete disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) the two sides had “candid and in-depth” discussions on the lingering stand-off along Line of Actual Control during the virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs. India wants a solution in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols. The two sides have also agreed that until the stand-off is resolved,  both sides should in the interim  continue to ensure a stable ground situation and avoid any untoward incident.
So far, there have been thirteen rounds of dialogue between the two sides and there have been only modest gains in the form of mutual withdrawal of forces from Pangong Tso lake.
The stand-off thus seems set to continue. And this is not a good evolving security situation for India.  And the country’s security brass is aware of this. Earlier, Army chief General M M Naravane has termed “the largescale build-up” of the People’s Liberation Army along the Chinese side of the border as a matter of concern. He also pointed out “ an equal amount of infrastructure development,” on the Chinese side.
But there is little that New Delhi can do about it. In the recent past, China has tried to expand the conflict along the LAC. Two months ago, over a hundred Chinese transgressed into Uttarakhand and returned after destroying a bridge. As time goes by, the differences between India and China are becoming irreconcilable.
India wants China to go back to status quo ante as it existed in April last year but Beijing is in no mood to do so. On the contrary, the People’s Liberation Army has enhanced its military profile on the border by deploying thousands of its soldiers and equipment. In recent years China has reportedly more than doubled its total number of airbases, air defense positions, and heliports near the Indian border. This has now become a high-stakes war of nerves between the two countries.
An eyeball to eyeball confrontation between the two countries has lingered ever since the forces of the two countries clashed at Galwan Valley in June-15-16 last year leading to the death of 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese personnel. A pragmatic way out to resolve the lingering stand-off is through negotiations, even if it takes time.

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