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Indian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions. Photo: AFP Indian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions.

Indian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions.

Senior Chinese and Indian officials have held further talks on pulling back troops after last month’s deadly clash on their disputed Himalayan border, but have yet to line out their plans intimately as military sources and observers warned that the road ahead could still prove bumpy.

Sources within the Indian Army said the 2 sides had decided to disengage from the positions they need been occupying for the last two months, but described it as a short lived measure and said politicians had to seek out a more lasting settlement to defuse tensions.

Analysts also noticed the differences in tone between the statements issued following Monday night’s talks between Chinese secretary of state Wang Yi and Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval, with some arguing that Beijing continued to color India because the aggressor.

“Disengagement means each side are basically not within the forward positions that they were in through the stand-off,” an Indian Army official said.

“They won't be immediately withdrawn but they're going to return by certain distances, counting on the situation .” Indian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions. Photo: AFPIndian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions. Photo: AFP

Indian military sources said the 2 sides had disengaged from their frontline positions.

Senior Chinese and Indian officials have held further talks on pulling back troops after last month’s deadly clash on their disputed Himalayan border, but have yet to line out their plans intimately as military sources and observers warned that the road ahead could still prove bumpy.

Sources within the Indian Army said the 2 sides had decided to disengage from the positions they need been occupying for the last two months, but described it as a short lived measure and said politicians had to seek out a more lasting settlement to defuse tensions.

Analysts also noticed the differences in tone between the statements issued following Monday night’s talks between Chinese secretary of state Wang Yi and Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval, with some arguing that Beijing continued to color India because the aggressor.

“Disengagement means each side are basically not within the forward positions that they were in through the stand-off,” an Indian Army official said.

“They won't be immediately withdrawn but they're going to return by certain distances, counting on the situation .”

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Indian media have also reported that the 2 countries have agreed to make a “buffer zone” where troops won't patrol until the 2 countries agree on better patrolling mechanisms for each side .

The army official said that the disengagement process would wish to be followed by talks at the political level.

“This buffer zone are going to be a short lived arrangement until the political leadership can sit together and agree on the precise locations and patrolling arrangements for each side , as has been the norm for many years now.” Both China and India claim territory held by the opposite side along their long border.

For the past two months their troops are locked during a face-off at multiple points along the road of Actual Control – the precise boundaries of which are themselves contested.

On June 15 troops from each side clashed near Pangong Tso lake, leaving 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese dead within the most serious incident along the frontier for many years .

The differences in tone adopted by the 2 foreign ministries in statements issued after Wang and Doval’s call highlighted the potential problems ahead, observers said.

Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, said the language employed by the Chinese side suggested India was guilty .

“In keeping with its standard playback for presenting offence as defence, China, in its statement yesterday, alluded to India because the aggressor and asserted that it'll ‘continue firmly safeguarding our territorial sovereignty’. Simply put, China is saying it'll defend its new territorial gains,” Chellaney said.

Swaran Singh, a defence analyst at Nehru University in Delhi, has noted that both India and China have repeatedly underlined their intention to disengage following the deadly clash in June, but the truth on the bottom was that each side were reinforcing their positions.

Singh warned that the disengagement process might be “painstakingly long-drawn-out” and therefore the risk of further confrontations remained.

“Disengagement will happen but only haltingly and can not mean the top of tensions leading to frequent crises with increasing costs attached whenever ,” he said.

Monday’s statements from the 2 countries’ foreign ministries both emphasised the necessity to succeed in agreement as soon as possible, but were otherwise light on detail.

The Indian foreign ministry said Wang and Doval “agreed that it had been necessary to make sure at the earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquillity. during this regard they further agreed that each side should complete the continued disengagement process along the LAC expeditiously”.

The Chinese said: “Both sides … stressed the importance to promptly act on the consensus reached within the commander-level talks between Chinese and Indian border troops, and complete the disengagement of front-line troops as soon as possible.”

Zhang Jiadong, a professor at Fudan University and former Chinese diplomat in India, was more optimistic about the prospects of implementing the deal.

He said the agreement showed “great promise” in contrast to an earlier agreement to disengage at the beginning of the June, which did not prevent the bloody clash.

 

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