New Delhi, Aug 26: In the wake of divergent statements emerging from India and China regarding the potential talks between Prime Minister Narender Modi and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting held on August 24, the international gaze is now fixed on the forthcoming meeting between the two leaders during the G20 summit scheduled for September 9, 10 in New Delhi.
While the situation along the border remains tense and no fresh developments on de-escalation have emerged, a ray of hope glimmers on the horizon. Notably, the recent achievement of Prime Minister Modi and President Xi meeting during the BRICS summit in Johannesburg bears significance, as both leaders concurred on the necessity of peace, tranquillity, and de-escalating tensions along their disputed border.
Both sides, as evident in their official statements, have reached a consensus to alleviate tensions and are committed to resolving their differences through peaceful consultation, thereby advancing bilateral relations. Highlighting the outcomes of these discussions, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra emphasized that both leaders agreed to intensify efforts towards disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Kwatra conveyed Prime Minister Modi's emphasis on the pivotal role of maintaining peace and respect for the LAC in normalizing the India-China relationship.
China's Foreign Ministry echoed a similar sentiment in their statement, noting that President Xi emphasized the mutual benefits of improved China-India relations and their significance for global and regional peace, stability, and development.
The important outcome is that this meeting sets the stage for their next interaction during the G20 summit, as experts posit that groundwork in the form of concrete negotiations and agreements among military and bureaucratic officials is imperative.
These steps are envisioned to pave the way for confidence-building measures and a reduction in border tensions, particularly in border areas of Ladakh, before the onset of winter.
The history of India-China relations has been marked by a challenging phase spanning over three years, accentuated by ongoing tensions along the 3,440 km-long Line of Actual Control. Friction along certain portions of this border has persisted for decades and this combative divide even led to a war between the two nations in 1962.
Recent years have witnessed significant escalations, particularly the deadly clash in the Galwan area of Ladakh in 2020 and subsequent skirmishes, underscoring the complexity of the situation. Since then India’s stance has been clear. First de-escalation on the Western Ladakh area and then other issues.
However, amid these challenges, the recent diplomatic encounters and continuing talks between top army Generals from both sides signal a willingness to seek resolutions.
In this vein, the recent interaction between leaders from India and China during the BRICS summit has laid a cornerstone for stabilizing bilateral relations.
The exchange transpired within the framework of the 19th round of the India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting, where both nations engaged in constructive and substantive discussions on resolving lingering issues along the LAC in the Western Sector. India Today quoting a senior army source said “the talks had started on August 19 and continued for six days as discussions were on between the Indian and the Chinese sides with breaks in between.
Earlier, on August 19, India and China had started Major General-level talks in the DBO as well as the Chushul sector in Eastern Ladakh. According to a senior defence official, the talks had started on August 19 and continued for six days as discussions were on between the Indian and the Chinese sides with breaks in between.
India Today quoting sources highlighted that the Indian side is looking for a resolution of the boundary issues at the Depsang Plains and the Charding Nilung Nallah (CNN) junction. Major General PK Mishra, who commands the Trishul Division, and Major General Hariharan, commander of the Uniform Force, represented the Indian side at the two locations. As the India-China border issue remains an ongoing territorial dispute, the world watches with interest as these two major powers navigate this intricate situation. With tensions in the front areas of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh and the historical complexities, the potential for fruitful dialogue is highly anticipated.
While challenges persist in certain areas, including the Depsang standoff, the ongoing military and diplomatic communications have yielded some positive outcomes, particularly the creation of buffer zones in specific conflict-ridden regions.
Despite the present uncertainties, the talks between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi signal a glimmer of optimism. The trajectory of their engagements, including the upcoming G20 summit discussions, could potentially herald a new chapter in their bilateral relationship, ultimately contributing to regional and global stability.