8 India-China dialogues yield little as chill sets in Ladakh
Jammu, November 9:
Eight rounds of talks later, Indian and Chinese forces appear to be no closer to backing off in Ladakh from their entrenched positions then they were after the first round of talks. A couple of days ago, senior commanders from both sides met for 11 hours to discuss various issues. At the end of the discussions, the two sides issued statements saying thwy will meet again.
Well, whatever may be the results of next round, or rounds, of talks, one thing is becoming clear that both sides are resigned to spending winter months on the icy heights. In Ladakh alone, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India may have committed over 50,000 troops. That is way too many as compared to previous years.
Be it Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, or all the way down to Arunachal Pradesh in far east, additional troops are being kept battle ready. This amounts to LAC with China virtually turning into another LoC (Line of Control), hot around the year, which is what we have with Pakistan. Of course, there is no question of lowering the guard on LoC ever as Sunday’s incident of four Indian soldiers getting martyred in Kupwara shows.
In the Indian delegation, Joint Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Naveen Srivastava was also present, just as he was earlier too. China has been maintained that India should vacate the heights it had occupied in late August. This has been rejected by the Indian side which ideally wants status quo ante that prevailed before April this year to be restored.
With neither side willing to step back, threats of use of firearms in any future confrontation is real. For too long, neither side resorted to firing bullets at each other and salami slicing by China continued unabated year after year. All that seems to have changed after the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers in June 15.
This far, and no farther, is something that appears to be the signalling from the Indian side to its adversary. This new reality of a hardened Indian posture has prevailed on the LAC for past several months.
An anti-China sentiment may have been building steadily across India over the past few months. As a result, most Chinese companies are likely to sell far lesser fireworks, and even Laxmi & Ganesh idols, during the next few days, in the festival season. Interestingly, eco friendly cow dung diyas are being produced across goshalas across the country in a bid to replace the cheap Chinese products which had flooded the markets during the last year’s.
Hitting the Chinese companies ecomically by refusing to buy their products remained an effective way to halt their onward march. As the soldiers brace up for harsh winter months, giving up Chinese products and weeding them out from everyday lives is perhaps the least ordinary citizens of India can do. As their contribution to the fighting against China.
By this month-end, chances of serious fighting on several stretches along LAC may actually diminish, till April 2021, not because of surge of any mutual goodwill, but harsh weather. With temperatures touching -30 degree Celsius in these parts, surviving days battling the elements and keeping warm can be bigger challenges for the soldiers than firing from the adversary