India and China are world’s most populous countries and fastest growing major economies. In fact, India was the first non-communist country in Asia to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China on April 1, 1950. The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the event.
However, the recent standoff between the two militaries at four points in Eastern Ladakh began on May 5. In order to resolve the issue, India and China maintained communications through established diplomatic and military channels.
A meeting between the Corps commanders of the two countries was held on June 6 2020 in a cordial and positive atmosphere in the Chushul-Moldo region. Both sides agreed that the two militaries should not allow the situation along the LAC to escalate and also agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders on maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border regions for the overall development of bilateral relations. Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship. Saturday’s discussion between the military commanders was preceded by a ground-setting video conference between diplomats of the two countries that resolved to not allow their differences to escalate into disputes while respecting each other’s concerns.
Moreover, the PLA generals, who had studied the Kargil war more seriously than anyone, know that the Indian Army can and will fight against all odds. Even though China is sabre-rattling at the border, it also knows that India has a very strong leader in PM Narendra Modi, who has not named China for spreading the COVID-19 virus, maintained a studied silence over the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang, not commented on the draconian laws in Hong Kong, and stayed silent while others have pushed for an observer status for Taiwan at the World Health Organization (WHO).
While the plans for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the event have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior Chinese official is reported to have said that the two countries “will emerge stronger and their relationship can scale new heights after the pandemic.”
With both the leaders of the two countries earlier committing to not turning bilateral differences into disputes, it would be in the interest of both parties to withdraw to their respective base camps in Eastern Ladakh as there is no way that India is going to allow China to make unilateral changes in the LAC. Accordingly, military and diplomatic engagements between the two sides will continue with a view to resolve the matter and strengthen the relationship.