加拿大28信誉老群

Galwan Valley clash to make border negotiation harder

Galwan Valley clash to make India-China border negotiation more strenuous

Indian Army vehicles drive on a road near Chang La high mountain pass in northern India's Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state near the border with China on June 17, 2020. (AFP)

The military stand-off along India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, particularly the violent clash in Galwan Valley, will make the negotiations between the two nations to resolve the boundary dispute all the more strenuous.

The stand-off is a result of the well-planned move by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to fundamentally alter the status quo on the ground, both in Galwan Valley as well as on the northern bank of Pangong Tso (lake). It clearly goes against the consensus that the two nations would work out a “fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable” way to resolve the boundary dispute through dialogue.

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The Special Representatives of India and China started holding talks to resolve the boundary dispute in October 2003 – almost 10 years after they had signed the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA), agreeing to respect the status quo and settle the row through peaceful dialogue. They concluded at an Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles in 2005.

They have since been engaged in talks on a framework, which will be followed by actual demarcation of the border on the map. Not that the Special Representatives could make much headway towards resolving the dispute in the past 15 years, but they did succeed in putting in place several confidence building measures to maintain peace and tranquility in the region and to avert occasional flash points. The measures as well as all the sequels of the 1993 BPTA, including the latest Border Defence Cooperation Agreement 2013, were based on the understanding that the two sides would maintain the status quo till a final settlement could be worked out.

China, however, has been repeatedly flouting the status quo along its boundary with India – in Daulat Beg Oldie in 2013, in Chumar in 2014 and now again in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley, which, like the previous ones, is also based on the PLA’s now-familiar “Two-Step-Forward-One-Step-Forward" approach and aimed at pushing its claim-line further into the territory of India.

加拿大28信誉老群Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is currently the Special Representative of India for boundary negotiations with China. His counterpart is China’s Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi. They held the last round of negotiations – the 22nd round – in New Delhi on December 21 last year. They “underlined the importance of approaching the boundary question from the strategic perspective of India-China relations and agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries”.

But the utility of the mechanism for the dialogue between the Special Representatives is likely to come under question after the violent clash in Galwan Valley, which clearly reflected China’s consistent attempt to change the status quo along its boundary with India.