The India-China border dispute: The Beginning of the End?
This week, after another conversation between Indian and Chinese representatives, both nations took their first steps towards dismantling their military bases in the Ladakh region.
A virtual meeting held on June 5th between Shri Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor of India and Wang Yi, the State Councillor and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, allowed for the establishment of a consensual plan to commence the disarmament in the disputed region. They have announced that this will occur gradually to ensure that both parties are respecting the norms predetermined.
To avoid any further altercations, a timetable has been instilled to enhance accountability and to allow both nations to advance with the process in a parallel manner. After the meeting on Monday, both parties have agreed upon a 72- hour observation window to enable each nation to take the necessary measures to disengage. At the end of this week, a formal verification has been planned in order to determine if both sides have been complying with the withdrawal.
Ultimately, the end goal would be the withdrawal of both armies by about 1.5-2 km in certain predetermined spots, according to the agreement established in the third round of talks on June 30th.
The Chinese Foreign ministry has confirmed that following the previous in-person meeting between the corps commanders, the nation has begun pulling back equipment and tents. Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson for the Ministry, stated that both nations have “made progress in taking effective measures on disengagement and easing tensions in the border areas by frontline troops” and hoped that India would continue to “meet China halfway”.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs commented on the dialogue between the two nations after the phone call on Sunday and demonstrated their willingness to cooperate to ensure peace in the region. The official statement they released also mentioned the recent dispute between Chinese and Indian troops and said that “two sides should not allow differences to become disputes” and that they strived for the “earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity”.
Both India and China have confirmed that further conversations will be held to aid the transition into disengagement and have committed to encounter the issue through diplomatic discussions “under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC)”.