Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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It is misplaced to say that 19 rounds of talks with China have not made headway

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ThePrint asks:

Is it possible to break the India-China border talks deadlock?

The 20th Special Representatives talks between Yang Jiechi and Ajit Doval are on. This is the first such interaction between India and China after the Doklam incident. They had met briefly during the BRICS NSAs’ meeting earlier in July 2017, when the incident was on.

There is a feeling that the Special Representative talks are not making any headway even after 19 rounds of talks. This feeling may be misplaced. The Special Representative talks are confidential in nature, and therefore, the progress made in these talks is not in the public domain. This confidentiality has led to speculation on the progress of these talks, and the feeling that no progress has been made.

One of the former NSAs has said that the technical work regarding the India-China boundary issue has been done. Therefore, the Special Representative talks seem to have been useful, and it may not be correct to say that the two special representatives are talking past each other. Even during the Doklam incident, diplomatic communications were on. Therefore, it is again conjecture that the border talks are deadlocked.

Here are other sharp perspectives on the question:

Harsh V. Pant, Professor of International Relations, King’s College London
Ankit Panda, senior editor, The Diplomat

This round of Special Representative talks is being held amidst reports that the Chinese troops are staying through the winter somewhere in the Doklam area. One needs to keep in mind that the Doklam area is a disputed territory between China and Bhutan.

Though Doklam may figure in the talks, it is likely that the talks may cover a wider range of the India-China boundary issue and bilateral relations. Therefore, it is time to wait for the outcome of these talks and not speculate. The India-China boundary issue is a complicated one, and both India and China have the maturity and sagacity to resolve it through talks.

Lt Gen. (Retd) S.L. Narasimhan is member, National Security Advisory Board, and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies. His areas of expertise are China, strategy, international relations, and military subjects. Narasimhan did M.Sc. in Defence Studies from Madras University. Follow him on Twitter @narasimhansl

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  1. I think that the Chinese test new tactics to grab land and India negotiates modalities to preempt the tactic. It is Chinese militarism v/s. Indian diplomacy. Whilst responding to Chinese attempts on the military platform, India should try something innovative tactics.
    Like distributing encryption software in Chinese restive regions, so that the people can send images & videos of Chinese govt atrocities. These files can be made public globally. This approach is easier and better than arming the rebels in China.

  2. From an optimistic perspective, the standoff will prompt the two countries to deepen strategic communication and control disputes to usher them in a new era of development. But looking through blue glasses, the confrontation has fully exposed all contradictions between the two neighbours and only urged them to maintain sharper vigilance against each other.

  3. Without disrespect to the posted learned opinion, what is there to negotiate? The Chinese seized a large chunk of our territory, claim Arunachal Pradesh, and at least for the last 12-years or more, have continuously encroached on our territory. There is no moral right or wrong in their actions; as a rising power they naturally will squeeze existing powers such as India and the US. Our job is not to talk, but to eject them. Every year we talk, we underline our weakness, and making it harder to get back our territory. That the government thinks 1.56% of GDP suffices for defense shows we are not serious, and encourage the Chinese to behave even more badly.

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