Synopsis: The allegations against India’s disengagement agreement at Pangong Tso is baseless. Rather, we need to appreciate the efforts of India’s negotiators for ensuring a successful border disengagement
After the India-China disengagement agreement both agree to withdraw from the Pangong Lake area. The disengagement agreement ended the nine-month-long military stand-off between both countries. But, there are few speculations over the gain and loss for India.
What are the speculations against the disengagement agreement?
There are many speculations around the India-China disengagement agreement. They are,
- Mutual withdrawal amounts to the creation of a buffer zone on Indian territory. It is perceived as a loss of Indian territory.
- The withdrawal amounts to the surrender of Indian territory. Especially the Finger 4 Region in Pangong Tso.
- Some questioned the rationality of withdrawing from the Kailash range on the South Bank of Pangong Tso. India had an advantageous position there while signing the disengagement agreement.
- There was also criticism over the inadequate budgetary allocation for the defence sector.
- There was also speculation about the lack of priority towards national security. The persons who support this mentions India’s “two-front situation”.
Why these allegations are baseless?
- India has accorded top priority to national security by increasing Military modernization, indigenization and defence exports. For example,
- Building of strategic Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) Road, Atal Rohtang Tunnel, etc.
- India implemented the defence reforms recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee. The implementation includes,
- The creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA),
- The appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff,
- Ongoing efforts to build integrated Theatre Commands.
- There is also a false assumption like patrolling by both sides will result in a buffer zone prevailing entirely in India. This is incorrect. India has neither accepted the unilateral definition of China’s so-called Line of Actual Control (LAC) of 1959 nor its subsequent amendments.
- India still accepts the modified “Colombo Conference Proposals” mooted by six non-aligned countries after the 1962 war,
- Further, India still conceives the whole of Aksai Chin as an integral part of India’s territory.
- The allegations that India has surrendered some parts of Indian territory is not correct. India has not surrendered any land in Galwan, Pangong Tso or Depsang since the border crisis broke out.
- More importantly, the disengagement agreement resulted in ceasing the Chinese patrolling areas between Fingers 4 and 8 for the first time in several decades.
- Also, China agreed to relocate its forces to the east of Finger 8. Thus, it is pulling back from its claimed “customary boundary line”.
- This is in line with India’s consistent demand to restore the status quo ante. Further, It has provided an advantage to India on the South Bank.
- Questioning the rationality of withdrawing from the Kailash range on the South Bank of Pangong is illogical. Because, if India’s objective is to achieve status quo ante, India too would logically be required to revert to its pre-April 2020 status.
So the Disengagement agreement at Pangong Tso was a significant step. This agreement will act as a basis for resolving the remaining issues along the LAC.
Our military and External Affairs Ministry negotiators need to be appreciated for their efforts. Bilateral differences are best negotiated from a position of strength as has been done at Pangong.
Source: The Hindu