India-China border: There is progress but not overmuch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping have not spoken or met since PLA made multiple incursions into eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020. But now it seems the stage is being prepared for them to meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in mid-September in Uzbekistan. Indian and Chinese troops kicked off disengagement from Patrolling Point-15 in the larger Gogra-Hot Springs area on Thursday.

But there is still no progress on the much bigger faceoffs at Demchok and Depsang Plains. Plus there are concerns that post-disengagement buffer zones are largely coming up on what India claims to be its territory even as at Depsang PLA has been actively blocking Indian soldiers around 18 km inside what India considers its own territory.

Also read: India, China troops to complete disengagement at Gogra-Hot Springs in Ladakh by September 12

Tensions in eastern Ladakh continue to cast a shadow over all aspects of the India-China relationship. It is also clear that PLA’s decision to forcefully alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control in 2020 was well-planned. And with Xi  set to be appointed as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for a third five-year term, expectations of a business relationship predicated on a peaceful border should be tempered.



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