Fresh Round of India–China Border Talks a ‘Ploy’ as Beijing Stalls for Time: Geopolitical Analyst

NEW DELHI—India and China engaged in a new round of military talks this week. The 21st round of the India-China Military Corps Commander level meeting was held Feb. 19 at an eastern Ladakh border location. While the two sides shared perspectives, the talks didn’t yield anything new, and press releases after the event repeated old rhetoric about continuing military and diplomatic communication.“The discussions built on the previous rounds, seeking complete disengagement in the remaining areas along the LAC [Line of Actual Control] in Eastern Ladakh as an essential basis for restoration of peace and tranquility in the India–China border areas,” the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a media release on Wednesday. The release added that the meeting, which took place at the Chinese-held Moldo-Chushul border point, was friendly and cordial, with the two sides committing to peace in the “interim.”A statement released by China’s Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday, didn’t provide any specific details either. It said the two sides had constructive talks focused on resolving the issues of “each other’s concern” in what it termed the “border areas.”“Both sides agreed to maintain communication through military and diplomatic channels under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and reach the mutually acceptable solution at an early date, so as to turn over a new leaf for the border situation,” the Chinese statement said.“During this period, both sides agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the China–India border areas.”The only difference that stood out between the two releases was the way in which each addressed the de facto border. While the Indian side referred to the LAC, indicating that it doesn’t recognize it as the settled border, the Chinese side simply referred to the border.Indian Secretary’s OutburstAlthough the release by India’s Ministry of External Affairs was diplomatically worded, India’s defense secretary, Giridhar Aramane, used aggressive language on Wednesday during the second Indus-X defense summit, with U.S. Indo-Pacific command chief, Admiral John C. Aquilino.Related StoriesThe two-day summit, which took place Feb. 20-21 in New Delhi, was jointly organized by the U.S.–India Business Council and the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturers. Attendees included U.S. and Indian defense companies, investors, researchers, and government officials.Mr. Aramane called the communist country—with which India shares over 2,165 miles of border and with whom it hit a trade record last year—a “bully.” He expressed trust and hope for U.S. support.He said, “We are giving a face-off to our neighbor [China] on almost all fronts we have with them. Where ever there is a mountain pass, we are stationed there to face any eventuality. Wherever there is a road, we have to be ready there also. So, we are standing against a bully in a very determined fashion.”The defense secretary said that India recognizes the United States as a key partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy. He told the summit audience that the United States had helped India after 2020’s bloody Galwan conflict with intelligence and situational awareness.“And we expect our friend U.S. will be there with us in case we need their support. It is a must for us and we have to do it together. We greatly appreciate the support and the resolve from our friends in supporting us during such an event. The strong resolve that we will support each other in the face of a common threat is going to be of critical importance to us,” he added.Experts: China Was Never SeriousIndian experts told The Epoch Times that despite the burgeoning trade between the two nations, China has never been serious about military talks, most likely holding them to buy time and engage India in fruitless anticipation.Pathikrit Payne, a New Delhi-based geopolitical analyst, told The Epoch Times that China wants to stall for time by keeping India engaged on the disputed border.“China’s insistence [that] military commanders meet may have been nothing but a ploy to buy time. It was never serious about any genuine disengagement and return of tranquility along LAC. China has overplayed its double game of committing something and then doing something completely opposite. India has shown enough patience,” Mr. Payne said.The New Delhi expert noted that both India and China are nuclear-armed countries with arsenals of intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s not in anyone’s interest to have the two giants at loggerheads, he said. However, China fears that if it completely disengages, such a step may bolster the confidence of other nations with whom it has border or maritime disputes.Bharat Wakhlu is an author, strategic analyst, and leadership adviser from Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Wakhlu told The Epoch Times that China refuses to agree to troop disengagement because Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants to be perceived—at home and abroad—as a leader who doe

Fresh Round of India–China Border Talks a ‘Ploy’ as Beijing Stalls for Time:  Geopolitical Analyst

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NEW DELHI—India and China engaged in a new round of military talks this week. The 21st round of the India-China Military Corps Commander level meeting was held Feb. 19 at an eastern Ladakh border location. While the two sides shared perspectives, the talks didn’t yield anything new, and press releases after the event repeated old rhetoric about continuing military and diplomatic communication.

“The discussions built on the previous rounds, seeking complete disengagement in the remaining areas along the LAC [Line of Actual Control] in Eastern Ladakh as an essential basis for restoration of peace and tranquility in the India–China border areas,” the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a media release on Wednesday. The release added that the meeting, which took place at the Chinese-held Moldo-Chushul border point, was friendly and cordial, with the two sides committing to peace in the “interim.”
A statement released by China’s Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday, didn’t provide any specific details either. It said the two sides had constructive talks focused on resolving the issues of “each other’s concern” in what it termed the “border areas.”

“Both sides agreed to maintain communication through military and diplomatic channels under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and reach the mutually acceptable solution at an early date, so as to turn over a new leaf for the border situation,” the Chinese statement said.

“During this period, both sides agreed to maintain peace and tranquility in the China–India border areas.”

The only difference that stood out between the two releases was the way in which each addressed the de facto border. While the Indian side referred to the LAC, indicating that it doesn’t recognize it as the settled border, the Chinese side simply referred to the border.
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Indian Secretary’s Outburst

Although the release by India’s Ministry of External Affairs was diplomatically worded, India’s defense secretary, Giridhar Aramane, used aggressive language on Wednesday during the second Indus-X defense summit, with U.S. Indo-Pacific command chief, Admiral John C. Aquilino.

The two-day summit, which took place Feb. 20-21 in New Delhi, was jointly organized by the U.S.–India Business Council and the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturers. Attendees included U.S. and Indian defense companies, investors, researchers, and government officials.

Mr. Aramane called the communist country—with which India shares over 2,165 miles of border and with whom it hit a trade record last year—a “bully.” He expressed trust and hope for U.S. support.

He said, “We are giving a face-off to our neighbor [China] on almost all fronts we have with them. Where ever there is a mountain pass, we are stationed there to face any eventuality. Wherever there is a road, we have to be ready there also. So, we are standing against a bully in a very determined fashion.”

The defense secretary said that India recognizes the United States as a key partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy. He told the summit audience that the United States had helped India after 2020’s bloody Galwan conflict with intelligence and situational awareness.

“And we expect our friend U.S. will be there with us in case we need their support. It is a must for us and we have to do it together. We greatly appreciate the support and the resolve from our friends in supporting us during such an event. The strong resolve that we will support each other in the face of a common threat is going to be of critical importance to us,” he added.

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Experts: China Was Never Serious

Indian experts told The Epoch Times that despite the burgeoning trade between the two nations, China has never been serious about military talks, most likely holding them to buy time and engage India in fruitless anticipation.

Pathikrit Payne, a New Delhi-based geopolitical analyst, told The Epoch Times that China wants to stall for time by keeping India engaged on the disputed border.

“China’s insistence [that] military commanders meet may have been nothing but a ploy to buy time. It was never serious about any genuine disengagement and return of tranquility along LAC. China has overplayed its double game of committing something and then doing something completely opposite. India has shown enough patience,” Mr. Payne said.

The New Delhi expert noted that both India and China are nuclear-armed countries with arsenals of intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s not in anyone’s interest to have the two giants at loggerheads, he said. However, China fears that if it completely disengages, such a step may bolster the confidence of other nations with whom it has border or maritime disputes.

Bharat Wakhlu is an author, strategic analyst, and leadership adviser from Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Wakhlu told The Epoch Times that China refuses to agree to troop disengagement because Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants to be perceived—at home and abroad—as a leader who doesn’t compromise on China’s interests.

“As part of a systematic process of cultivating this image, this global/Chinese perception, he is resisting going back,” said Mr. Wakhlu.

However, Mr. Wakhlu predicted, “It is only a matter of time before Xi Jinping is ousted. You'll have a new leader and a new set of possibilities between India and China will emerge.” That time is  “not very far in the future,” he believes.

Mr. Wakhlu stressed that the trade between the two countries reached a record $136 billion last year, and is bound to grow. If the two giant economies are to live peacefully, and global peace is to be preserved, the border dispute must be eventually resolved, he said.

“I would like to support India’s perspective that the delineation of the border has to be done unambiguously,” said Mr. Wakhlu.

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