China has withdrawn its troops by at least a kilometer in three places in Ladakh including the tense Galwan river valley where 20 soldiers were killed in action in deadly brawl with the Chinese troops on June 15. Indian soldiers have also pulled back and a buffer zone has been created between the troops of both sides. “It is the first phases of the disengagement process. Further steps will be taken after the next round of military level talks”. The Chinese are no longer on Indian Territory in Galwan, the sources say; temporary structures built by Chinese soldiers at the illegally occupied site at the river-bend embankment are being removed by both sides. There are some indicators that China has started de-escalating from the Fingers region in Pangong. The Chinese military has dismantled tents and structures near the site of the clash and vehicles have been seen withdrawing from the area as well as at Hot Springs in Gogra-two other contested border zones.
Reasons for the withdrawal of troops :
Reports of the pull-back have emerged three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to a Ladakh forward post on Friday, where he addressed thousands of troops and asserted, without naming China, “the age of expansionism is over and expansionist forces have either lost or were forced to turn back.”
On Sunday, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke on the phone for two hours and, according to an official statement, had a “frank in-depth exchange of views on the recent developments in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.” Mr Doval and the Chinese minister agreed that “It was necessary to ensure at the earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquility.” They also discussed completing disengagement along the LAC expeditiously and “a phased and stepwise de-escalation” in the border areas. “They reaffirmed that both sides should strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and should not take any unilateral action to alter the status quo and work together to avoid any incident in the future that could disturb peace and tranquility in border areas,” said the government statement. This part was not included in Beijing’s official note on the conversation. China said front-line troops are taking “effective measures” and making “progress” to disengage and ease the tensions in the Galwan Valley. “China and India have made progress coming up with effective measures for the frontline troops to disengage and de-escalate the border situation at the third commander- level talks between the two militaries on June 30,” Chinese Foreign Military spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
The third round of talks between the commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies on June 30 went on for 12 hours. A period of two weeks was given for the process of de-escalation during the talks. So the physical withdrawal of the Chinese to their side needs to be completed by approximately July 14. Recent satellite images had shown multiple Chinese intrusions across the LAC and the deployment of heavy weaponry and Chinese construction activity. The images had indicated that the Chinese had illegally occupied 423 meters of Indian Territory in the Galwan Valley. Images showed a significant consolidation of Chinese forces in Ladakh’s Pangong Lake region where Indian soldiers are being stopped from patrolling after violent skirmishes in May in which dozens of Indian soldiers are believed to have been injured. It is also said that Russia pressurized China to release Indian Soldiers and end the border conflict with India.
Economic and diplomatic reasons :
Desired as it is both countries are grappling with common issues of COVID-19 and stressed economies. Better sense would be for the leadership on either side to stick to the agreed upon negotiations through the established Joint Working Group. Under the circumstances while diplomatic parleys continue as well as the proposed meeting this morning between the respective Divisional Commander’s in continuation of the June 6th talks between Senior Military leaders and setting up of the hotline between the Director General Military Operations are all positive signs; at the macro level.
At the ground level, the troops may well pull back in consonance with the agreed-to decisions taken at the joint meetings, in no way suggests that he Chinese mindset on the areas it claims as its territory has changed. The Chinese are quick to mobilize and develop infrastructure in areas of its interest, Doklam is a recent case; which should be remembered and cited as an example in all our discussions.
There are reports of a power struggle in the Chinese Communist Party and speculations are being made on the Balkanization of China as was the case of the erstwhile USSR. The CCP and its leadership is harsh and is least worried about Human Right violations. To quote media reports “The Shanghai faction, led by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao-led Beijing faction are caught in a covert war with Zhenjiang faction, led by President Xi Jinping, and each one is trying to eliminate the influence of the other in the dirty political game. And, behind the scene is massive labour unrest, pro-democracy protests against the present regime that hardly finds mention in the highly-censored national and international media. Spies and analysts closely monitoring the growing turbulence in China believe that the collapse is likely to be expedited as unprecedented crackdown against opposition and disappearance of lawyers and human right activists are causing massive chaos in the Chinese hinterland.” This is a honey pot for all those who oppose the Chinese supremacy in the World Order.
While India must continue to engage with China diplomatically, it should not rule out its options of diplomatically recognizing Taiwan, engaging with the US to give recognition to Tibet as an independent country under Chinese Military siege as well as Military crackdown on Muslim Uighurs. The Indian government needs to step up its Military Cooperation with Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea to weave a counter web against the Chinese attempt to hem India into its coastal region. The RBI clearance of 2019 to the Bank of China’s operations in India need to be revisited.