By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-07 05:30:58
After months of tension, a bloody clash and hectic negotiations at many levels, India and China have finally started to deescalate the standoff at the LAC. The process of disengagement has begun in real earnest with monitoring and verification from both sides. It is being reported that both the armies have backed off by as much as one kilometer each, thereby creating a sort of a buffer zone between them. The reports also say that troops of both nations are actively engaged in dismantling the temporary structures that were built in the conflict zone.
The final modalities for the de-escalation process were discussed in a two-hour-long telephonic conversation between India's NSA Ajit Doval and the foreign minister and special representative of China, Wang Yi on Sunday. After tough negotiations, both men agreed to a phased disengagement that would be monitored and verified by both sides. This was the culmination of many rounds of talks between army commanders, the negotiations between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Yi on June 17. Jaishankar and Yi had agreed upon certain things and on Sunday, after two hours of tough negotiations, Doval and Yi gave it the final shape. The disengagement started from Monday morning.
But it is going to be a slow and tricky process. Earlier too, the military commanders of both sides had agreed upon certain withdrawal points and it seemed the disengagement was happening. But the Chinese had sent martial arts experts and armed their men with nail-studded rods to engage the Indians in a bloody clash. Hence, sparks can still fly if there is even a small diversion from the plan agreed upon. The only difference is that this time, the plan has the blessings of the top leadership and hence the script might not change. One can only hope that the Chinese stick to the commitment they have made.