India-China LAC face-off: Should the US interfere in this matter? No, says an expert
If the borders are well-demarcated, the two countries will have military tension-free relations and such situations will not arise as we are presently witnessing in Ladakh.by Huma Siddiqui
Despite the olive branch offered by China to India, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is busy digging trenches, and preparing bunkers at three different locations in the Galwan Valley, and above the Pangong Tso Lake.
What has happened along the LAC?
Earlier this month, the construction of a road by India on its own side in the Pangong Tso Lake area beside another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley, has upset the Chinese.
As has been reported almost 250 troops of both sides had engaged in a violent face-off. Besides resorting to stone pelting, iron rods, and sticks were used.
This was followed by another incident between the troops of the two countries in North Sikkim on May 9, near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector. According to sources, there were injuries sustained by soldiers on both Eastern and Western Front. Talks through established mechanisms at the LAC and the border helped and the two sides disengaged.
Stating that Indian armed forces are adhering strictly to the consensus reached between our leaders, the official spokesperson of the MEA made it very clear that “India remained firm in our resolve to ensuring the country’s sovereignty and national security.”
Sharing his views on two statements coming from the Chinese side, senior journalist and China analyst, Ranjit Kumar says “The two simultaneous statements from China, one from Beijing foreign ministry and other from the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi indicates the realisation in the Chinese government that they will not be able to break the resolve of the Indian government to safeguard its territory and sovereignty at any cost. Perhaps the Chinese army miscalculated the game plan and will definitely not be able to achieve its tactical aims in the Ladakh region of the 3488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC).”
As the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong has said in New Delhi that the two countries should never allow our differences to shadow the overall development of our relations, “he would be well advised to recommend to his Government to work towards early resolution of the border and territorial dispute so as to usher in a new era of good neighbourly relations. Border issue must not remain the single biggest source of the tussle between the two Asian giants,” suggests Kumar.
If the borders are well-demarcated, the two countries will have military tension-free relations and such situations will not arise as we are presently witnessing in Ladakh.
“However the Chinese army backed by its political leadership in Beijing should avoid such friction causing steps. It is really unfortunate that in the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations, both the countries have come to this ugly situation. The Chinese government must see to it that the year 2020 must not be remembered as the year of military face-offs,” Kumar concludes.
Trump’s offer to mediate
Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU says “President Trump has an irresistible desire to mediate in every border dispute of India. In a number of occasions earlier, he expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan over the issue of Kashmir. New Delhi should not doubt his intent as it only manifests his ignorance of the complexities of geopolitics in this region. He apparently does not have a deeper understanding of the history and nature of border conflicts in the region. He is perhaps unaware of the role Washington played in supporting Pakistan and China during the latter half of the 20th Century.”
According to Prof Rajan, “He needs to be counselled by his experts in White House about the sensitivity of such issues in India, and the damage his offer does to the existing goodwill between the two countries. New Delhi is cautious in responding to such offers because it does not want to hurt President Trump, and impair the relationship.
As a business negotiator, Trump seems confident about his negotiating skills. But his perception is hardly shared by other countries or leaders. The offer of Trump is as serious as a hypothetical offer from New Delhi to negotiate between the ongoing trade war between the US and China. ”
Adding, “The basic requirement of a negotiator is to command the highest level of trust from the disputing parties and be viewed as neutral. With Washington and Beijing roiled in rising trade tensions and war of words, the credibility of Trump as a negotiator is extremely low. In Beijing, such offers would be seen as Washington taking sides with New Delhi. In New Delhi, this would be seen as an unsolicited suggestion from a maverick leader, to be ignored at best.”
“It would be helpful for all the countries if Trump resists his temptations to offer mediations in future. India and China have well developed and proven working mechanisms to resolve border standoffs. It has done it successfully in the last few decades without US negotiators, and one is more than certain that the present dispute would be resolved amicably,” Prof Rajan concludes.