China turns Indian proposal on its head, wants de-escalation first and then disengagement


The India-China military and diplomatic talks over resolving the Ladakh stand-off remain confidential, but HT learns that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has turned the dis-engagement, then de-escalation formulation on its head by proposing that tanks and artillery support should be mutually withdrawn first in order that vertical escalation is averted just in case of an accident. 

The Indian position on the opposite hand is that there should be comprehensive disengagement of troops through a phased withdrawal, a verification process, then a de-escalation. The disengagement, New Delhi has maintained, should involve troops going back to their pre-April 2020 positions along the 1597 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Once this happens, de-escalation can follow. 

Experts say that in pure military terms, cutting down of artillery and tank support from the friction points doesn't add favour of the Indian Army because the PLA has built roads right up to Beijing’s perception of LAC and has the capacity and capability to deploy much faster than Indian armour. 

According to senior officials, the Indian Army will need to remain deployed within the heights of East Ladakh through the winter, till the PLA decides in favour of disengagement and restoring status quo ante. “ The Indian Army has been trained in high altitude deployments and can get on guard till things is mutually resolved. The Indian position is comfortable and well-defended,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity. 

While the PLA has come up to its perception of the LAC on the north banks of Pangong Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs, the Indian Army has come up to its perception of the LAC on the south bank of the high altitude salt lake with troops sitting on the Rezang La-Rechin La ridgeline. 

India’s national security planners are debating how the tense situation will play call at the longer term . One school of thought is that the PLA will attempt to placate India though talks till the November 3 US presidential election on the other hand increase hostilities right along the 3488 km LAC if President Trump doesn't return to White House. Essentially this suggests that immediately , China is concentrated on US moves vis-a-vis Taiwan and can specialise in India after the end in the US Presidential elections. 

The other school of thought among is that the PLA aggression on LAC has nothing to try to to with the US Presidential elections because the friction started in Galwan-Gogra-Hot Springs in April, when the American elections weren't even on the horizon. People believe that the PLA advance LAC is aimed toward restoring the November 7, 1959 line and punishing India for publishing the Ladakh map on All Souls' Day , 2019. 

The aggression has partly to try to to with the interior situation in China with the spread of coronavirus from Wuhan, the resulting impact on the economy, and therefore the ensuing political ferment. While China’s internal political situation is predicted to ease instead of exacerbate, the pressure on LAC will continue for time to return.

Source- Hindustan Times

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