By Atul Aneja
New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) After military disengagement from eastern Ladakh, India and China are set to engage in a political dialogue led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s state council and foreign minister Wang Yi.
The two are also Special Representative appointees, who hold a detailed dialogue to resolve the border row between the two Himalayan neighbours.
The Hindustan Times is reporting that while the 10th meeting between military commanders will take place in Chushul on Saturday, the backchannel talks between the special representatives have ensured that no side will unilaterally alter the status quo along the 3,488 km long LAC and the status quo ante will be restored on all points.
Doval and Wang had a video conference on June 7, 2020, and have kept in touch, with external affairs minister S Jaishankar holding the diplomatic end of conversations with Beijing, the daily reported.
It is understood that the Indian side has made it clear that it will stand up to any use of force but is willing to discuss and build a positive atmosphere for sorting out all outstanding issues related to the LAC.
“We have conveyed that the two sides can sit together and work their way towards resolving differences in perception over the LAC after China has created positivity by restoring status quo ante on Pangong Tso. There can be no dialogue if PLA uses force but if China can persuade that India is wrong or vice versa on border perception, then the two sides can mutually adjust to the perception line,” HT quoted a senior official as saying.
According to national security planners, it is for China to create a positive atmosphere for forward movement in bilateral ties as India will respond in kind and more. “The trajectory that India and China ties take from Pangong Tso disengagement depends on Beijing but the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) withdrawal has been taken in the right spirit in New Delhi,” said a former Indian Army chief.
After the disengagement from Pangong Tso, the military commanders on Saturday are expected to work out the modalities of withdrawal of armour and artillery from friction points at Gogra-Hot Springs and work out the modalities for restoring full patrolling rights to the two sides in the Depsang Bulge area, south of Daulet Beg Oldi sector.
Analysts say that there is an expectation in India that full normalisation of ties after full disengagement can follow, if China addresses four Indian key concerns.
First, moving beyond Confidence Building Measures, Beijing must demonstrate a commitment to resolve the boundary issue once for all through a sincere two-way political dialogue.
Second, China must not impede India’s rise as a great power. Beijing can demonstrate a change in strategic thinking by dropping objections to New Delhi’s full membership to the UN Security Council (UNSC). Among the five-permanent member of the UNSC, China remains the only country, which is blocking a consensus on India’s permanent membership to the world’s most powerful body.
Simultaneously, China should not stand in the way to India’s entry in the other global organisations such the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Third, China must stop hyphenating its ties with India and Pakistan, and work with the two countries on separate tracks which are independent of each other.
Fourth, China needs to respect India’s geo-cultural space in South Asia, Southeast Asia, parts of Central and West Asia. While the imprint of the Confucian civilization is perceptible in East Asia, India’s civilizational influence is also overwhelming in the ASEAN, South Asia and key island territories in the Indian Ocean. The need to respect cultural multipolarity is a must if ties between the two rising global powers are to prosper.
Fifth, China needs to give up its Middle Kingdom mentality of assuming that is positioned as the centre of the universe surrounded by tributary states, implying the stamping an inferior status to other countries and great civilizations.
In case China moves the pieces on the above, India can become a strong and equal partner in the evolution of a multipolar world order, where the two pivotal civilizational states—India and China– can work together in harmony. Creative solutions can also be found on the One-China principle without compromising the concerns of smaller states.
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