Days of disengagement: On India-China LAC standoff

  • IASbaba
  • July 8, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • India and its neighbourhood relations
  • Security & challenges in border areas 

Days of disengagement: On India-China LAC standoff

Context: After two months of stand-off along the LAC, India and China are moving towards a full disengagement

Why peace & tranquillity is needed now?

  • This was the first time the LAC has seen such casualties in over four decades, disengagement is needed to prevent the tensions spiralling out of control that may lead to a war
  • India is battling multiple battle now (COVID-19, Slowing economy, Kashmir reorganisation) and cannot afford to have prolonged border tensions with China

India-China border Clashes during May – To read more about it, Click here

What exactly is the controversy about Galwan Valley? – Click Here

Factors leading to escalation and strategic implication of dispute – Read here

Reducing border tensions & move towards disengagement

  • After Diplomacy at high levels (Military & NSA), movement towards de-escalation is said to be taking place in the military build-up at the Line of Actual Control
  • While the statements made in New Delhi and Beijing were not identical in language, they largely conveyed a consensus to restore peace and tranquillity at the LAC. 
  • The next step will be to see their agreements carried out and to ensure that Chinese troops withdraw as promised on each of the three points discussed: Galwan, Hot Springs and Gogra.

Challenges with regard to disengagement process

  • Bad precedence: It was during a disengagement verification operation by the Indian troops that the Galwan clash is believed to have occurred. 
  • Need resolution at other points: Chinese ground units have consolidated their position in the Pangong Tso area. Therefore, similar disengagement exercises will have to be undertaken for other points along the LAC.
  • Needs follow-up action: Disengagement and de-escalation must be accompanied by defined “end-points” for troops to withdraw to, to ensure they do not reoccupy positions vacated.
  • Communication to Citizens: The government should inform the country about the progress & considered measures such as “buffer zones”, the patrolling-free period, and the reasons for the decision to pull back Indian troops in the areas of disengagement. 

Way Ahead

  • A full inquiry is needed of the build-up to the clash and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. 
  • The government must consider whether it will continue its course of economic counter-measures against China, that includes
    • Banning of apps
    • Investment restrictions
    • An import slowdown (increased custom duties)
  • In small steps over time, India and China must return to a more balanced relationship.

Connecting the dots:

  • 1962 Indo-China war
  • China’s Belt & Road Initiative

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