The Big Story: The Sino-Indian Border: The Incident, Face-off, Diplomacy, Politics and more
Too many things have happened this week on the Sino-Indian border. For simplification, I will follow a question-answer explainer format.
1) What was happening before the fight?
After the several rounds of military and diplomatic talks, partial disengagement – at least at a few points on both the sides of the LAC – was expected this week. A High-Level Military Conference between Major Generals was held at the Patrolling Point 14, 15, 17 A and Gogra area on June 12, 2020, for de-escalation. This was the second round of Major General-level talks in a week and intended to take forward the understanding reached in the previous week at the Corps Commander-level. This is also the fifth round of Major General-level talks since the beginning of the standoff in early May.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on June 11, 2020, said that both sides had agreed on “an early resolution of the situation in keeping with the guidance of the leaders. The two sides are, therefore, maintaining their military and diplomatic engagements to peacefully resolve the situation at the earliest as also to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas. This is essential for the further development of India-China bilateral relations.” A day earlier, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that “diplomatic and military channels of China and India held effective communication on the situation along the border and reached positive consensus. The two sides are following this consensus to take actions to ease the situation along the borders.”
India’s defence minister, Rajnath Singh, had also taken stock of the situation and met Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs to discuss the situation. On Saturday, India’s Army Chief, General MM Naravane, confirmed that disengagement of Chinese and Indian troops has begun in the Galwan area, and both sides “are disengaging in a phased manner”. He said military talks between the two sides have been “very fruitful” and “the situation will keep improving as we go on”.
Dinakar Peri reports for the Hindu on June 15 that both sides have held five rounds of Major General level-talks. There have also been a series of talks at the Brigadier and Colonel levels. However, there is no change in the massive build-up in-depth areas on the Chinese side. In addition to moving into Indian held territory in some places, China had undertaken build-up of troops and deployed fighter bombers, rocket forces, air defence radars and jammers among others on their side. India would continue to maintain its build-up until China withdrew the build-up.