Reasons behind India-China disengagement agreement along LAC

Source- Indian Express 

Syllabus: GS 2 –  India and its Neighbourhood- Relations.

Synopsis: The Sino- Indian disengagement agreement in Pangong Tso region is the first step towards ending hostilities along LAC (Line of Actual Control). Focus should now be on other areas of friction like Kailash heights and Depsang plateau to bring lasting peace.

Background:

  • India and China have finally agreed to enter into a disengagement agreement along Pangong Tso region. This agreement has been reached after nine months of hostility.
  • The agreement was reached in the 9th corps commander meeting that was held on 24th January 2021.
  • It was mutual understanding and changing world scenarios that helped in this agreement.   

What are the possible reasons behind this disengagement agreement?

Experts are of the view that the Chinese aggression was a response to the rising strategic confidence of India in the region, since 2015. A lesson was to be taught to India and the vulnerable situation during the pandemic, gave Chinese just the right opportunity to execute its move. The following changing world scenarios are behind this agreement: 

  1. The new Biden-Harris alliance in the US promised greater stability in the South China Sea. Now, Chinese won’t like to further deteriorate its global image. They might be trying to deliver the message of cooperation.
  2. On the part of India, the sensible diplomacy coupled with strategic advantage obtained at Kailash heights improved its bargaining power. It assured that China sits on the negotiation table and cooperate.
  3. The discipline showed by India in the economic and trade domain also refrained China from using its media warfare doctrine. It induced China to engage in constant talks.
    • Media Warfare Doctrine-It is a doctrine that involves action to deny, exploit, corrupt or destroy the enemy’s information and its functions.

Suggestions:

  • The disengagement terms should be respected so that agreement leads to conflict resolution and not a postponement. It was seen in the earlier Doklam and Nathula stand-off, after reaching disengagement.
  • Trust needs to be established between frontline commanders else there is a possibility of escalation due to new friction, as seen in Galwan valley in July 2020.
  • Talks on other areas of friction are ongoing at Depsang plateau and Kailash heights. The present agreement should be used as a step towards lasting peace.
    • China has an upper hand in the Depsang plateau and India commands an edge over Kailash heights.

Future engagement must be guided by showing mutual respect towards each other’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.

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