Talks between India and China over the disputed border region in the Himalayas have broken down, with each side blaming the other for the failed negotiations. Tensions have been high between the two powers along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
In 2020, Chinese and Indian troops fought several skirmishes along the LAC, including one in June 2020 that turned deadly. The failed talks mean that India and China will continue to have troops forwardly deployed in Ladakh, where the skirmishes took place. China has blamed the failure on what it called “unreasonable demands” from India.
“The Chinese side has made great efforts and fully demonstrated its sincerity to promote the de-escalation of the border situation,” said Long Shaohua, a spokesman for China’s Western Theater Command. “But the Indian side still insists on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, making the negotiations more difficult.”
India rejected the Chinese claim and said it made “constructive suggestions” but that the Chinese were “not agreeable” and “could not provide any forward-looking proposals.” Before the talks concluded, India’s army chief said China is building up troops on its side of the disputed border and building infrastructure.
“So, it means that they are there to stay. We are keeping a close watch on all these developments, but if they are there to stay, we are there to stay, too,” said Gen. M.M. Naravane.
According to a description of heightened tensions in India’s media:
Southeast of Galwan Valley is where 20 Indian and at least four Chinese soldiers died in clashes in June 2020, Hot Springs lies in the Chang Chenmo river valley, close to Kongka La, a pass that marks the Line of Actual Control. India’s Patrolling Point 15, it is not a launchpad for any offensive action though the area did see action before and during the 1962 war.
China’s unwillingness to pull back its platoon-sized unit from Hot Springs is a sign of the difficulties that lie in normalising the situation. The PLA has traditionally had a major base east of Kongka La.
A 2004 CIA map of the disputed Kashmir region with red circles corresponding to 2020 conflicts.
Since the deadly June 2020 skirmish, the US has stepped up military cooperation with India, including a new military pact that shares more satellite data with New Delhi. With this increased intelligence sharing, India can keep a better eye on Chinese troops.
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Meanwhile, here’s Rabobank’s take…
The Global Times is also doing its usual job, but this time threatening war with India again (“New Delhi needs to be clear about one thing: it will not get the border the way it wants. If it starts a war, it will definitely lose. Any political manoeuvring and pressure will be ignored by China.”)
I’m a little late to this extraordinary editorial by GT on bordre standoff. It presents the dispute in very uncomplicated terms. China is more powerful, so it will do what it wants to and India must deal with it. Case closed. https://t.co/2VbT4hoHzR
— Sreemoy Talukdar (@sreemoytalukdar) October 12, 2021
PLA tank exercises were reportedly held last night. Of course, one would logically presume there are more than enough fish for China to fry on the domestic and another geographic front….so ’Tra la la?’