I. The Big Story: The Sino-Indian Dispute: Military-Diplomatic Updates Plus Nuclear Relations
There is no major diplomatic or military-diplomatic breakthrough on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India are still engaged in a stand-off on at least three points at the disputed border. The Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was to meet on Thursday, the fourth time since the stand-off began. Generally, the WMCC meeting is followed by a Corps Commander-level meeting on the ground, but Sushant Singh reports for the Indian Express that there are currently no plans to hold such a meeting. “If there is an inclination to move forward during the WMCC meeting, the next engagement will be decided after that,” he reports.
More importantly, India’s newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, along with his top commanders, told an all-party parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the military de-escalation process with China would be a long drawn issue. In their collective depositions, the CDS and his senior colleagues reportedly informed the PAC that as the process of the PLA’s de-escalation and pullback was likely to be an ‘extended one,’ the Indian Army was preparing to deploy personnel along the LAC during the upcoming harsh winter months. India, over the past three months, has mirrored the PLA’s deployment along the LAC, backed by howitzers, main battle tanks, assorted missile batteries, and frequent sorties over the contentious region by the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) varied combat aircraft and attack helicopters. In addition, it has also aggressively patrolled the eastern Indian Ocean using naval vessels and aircraft.