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India-China ‘Attempting’ To Resolve Border Dispute Locally; But Indian Army Will Not Back-Off

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The border dispute between India and China remains one of the most intense after the Doklam standoff. The latest news coming from the border is that the Indian Army will hold its ground firm remain in eastern Ladakh until a peaceful and diplomatic resolution is achieved. 

TOI quoting government sources said that India will continue to protect its interests resolutely, deploy appropriate resources and work towards a peaceful resolution of the border dispute with China while opposing Chinese intrusions in the contentious region.

India will soon recommence border infrastructure development which was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic, but will remain “open and flexible” in diplomatic talks with Beijing in a bid to resolve the India-China border, TOI quoted the source.

The source calls Chinese as intruders and claims that all activities and border patrols by the Indian Army were being done within its own side of the LAC. “But despite that, the Chinese restrained the Indian patrols. Delhi and Beijing are working out the matter diplomatically but there won’t be any compromise when it comes to the defence of our territory.”

Meanwhile, Indian Express reports that India and China have initiated the “working mechanism” at the diplomatic level. This has been initiated beside the army-to-army dialogue to “dis-engage” and “de-escalate” the border dispute.

The “Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs” was founded in January 2012 after border talks between then-National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon and his counterpart Dai Bingguo, and is headed by joint secretary-level officials from both sides.

While joint secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Naveen Srivastava, heads the Indian side, Beijing is represented by Hong Liang from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China.

Srivastava is believed to be heading the border dialogue as the mandate of the mechanism is clear: “aim for up-to-date communication of information on the border situation” and “for competently managing border conflicts”.

India’s evaluation is that the Chinese are involved in what is known in military parlance as “holding the line”. While there is no accepted Line of Actual Control (LAC), both Chinese and Indian army soldiers patrol up to their “assumed lines” and then return.

In the present border dispute, it looks like the Chinese have breached the perceived border and are now dwelling-in, in an attempt to “hold the line”.

Although the attempt is to fix the border dispute “locally”, where soldiers move back to their original positions in the next “7 to 10 days”, Indian position is that the “Chinese PLA soldiers who have trespassed into Indian terrority must pull back while emphasizing that Indian soldiers were on their side of the LAC.

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Afghanistan, Pakistan, China Hold Trilateral Meet; Keen To Commence Intra-Afghan Talks

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Afghanistan, Pakistan and China held a trilateral virtual meeting and Pakistani and Chinese officials again urged the Taliban to decrease violence so that intra-Afghan talks could be initiated, Tolo News quoted the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

India-China Peace Talks – Read The ‘Official Statements’ Of Indian & Chinese Govt On Disengagement

“On July 7, 2020, the 3rd round China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue was held via video link. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood co-chaired the dialogue,” Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China held comprehensive discussions and agreed to collaborate against COVID-19, the Afghan peace talks and trilateral cooperation.

The statement also reads – China and Pakistan praised the efforts by the Afghanistan government and relevant parties in facilitating the exchange of the prisoners to pave the way for the start of the Intra-Afghan Negotiations and call for violence reduction and humanitarian ceasefire.

China and Pakistan will improve cooperation with the Afghan government in support of the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace reconciliation process, the launch of Intra-Afghan Negotiations at an early date, support the preservation of the gains since 2001, and looked forward to the early restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.”

“Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to further strengthen dialogue and work for continuous improvement of bilateral relations including through the effective implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS). China will continue to play a constructive role in improving Afghanistan-Pakistan relations,” the statement said.

“The Afghan government should release the Taliban prisoners based on the peace agreement and avoid sabotaging the peace process,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.

The Afghan government expects that the intra-Afghan talks can soon, but sources close to the Taliban have said that they do not see the possibility for talks unless the Afghan government guarantees the release of remaining 5,000 prisoners a per the pact signed between the US and the Taliban.

“With consideration of the measures taken by the Afghan government, the hope is that these talks start during July,” said Geran Hewad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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Despite Chest Thumping, India Could Take Years To Reduce Economic Dependence On China – US Experts

Bilateral trade between India and China was estimated at $88 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year, but India recorded a massive $53.5 billion deficit with China — the biggest trade deficit India has with any nation.

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Anti-China sentiments in India are at an all-time high. Recently India banned 59 Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok, while Chinese firms are being obstructed from participating in highway and other major tenders and projects. 

Has China Really Withdrawn Soldiers From Galwan Valley – Chinese FM Responds

The Indian hotel industry group also issued a blanket ban on Chinese tourists. “In view of the nefarious activities of China, it has been decided that no Chinese will be accommodated in Delhi’s hotels and guest houses from now onwards,” the Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association said in a statement in late June.

Reports suggest that goods from China are being delayed at Indian ports, and the Indian government are planning to impose higher tariffs and rigorous quality controls on shipments.

“Trade frictions, even symbolic ones, are obviously bad for business,” Pravin Krishna, professor of International Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, told DW. “As of now, it is not quite clear which goods are being held up at the ports and what the extent of the delay is.

The exact impact on businesses will clearly depend on their inventory positions and so on and this will vary quite widely across sectors and firms,” he said. “I imagine most businesses can manage delays, but perhaps not complete blockades.”

Bilateral trade between India and China was estimated at $88 billion in the 2018-19 fiscal year, but India recorded a massive $53.5 billion deficit with China — the biggest trade deficit India has with any nation.

China is also India’s biggest source of imports and exports more than 3,000 products to India at very competitive prices. Moreover, India has become a major destination for Chinese investment with key Indian startups like Zomato, Paytm having received millions of dollars’ worth of funding from China.

The total planned and current Chinese investments in India are estimated to be about $26 billion, according to the US think tank Brookings. Experts say – there is no easy pathway for India to reduce its current dependence on China and decoupling from China will be a slow, gradual process.

Observers believe that a trade conflict will likely be costly for both sides, especially given the timing of the current tensions. Both India and China have already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created massive challenges for both the governments.

Their economies are undergoing a sharp devaluation. In India’s case, the rigorous lockdown has resulted in severe economic losses and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now expects India’s GDP to shrink 4.5% this year.

To counter the economic collapse, Indian PM Narendra Modi launched “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” a campaign for a self-reliant India that aids businesses to make products in the country instead of relying on imports. This is in addition to the “Make in India” initiative.

Sumit Ganguly, professor of Political Science at the Indiana University Bloomington told DW – “Frankly, I think it amounts to foolish, anachronistic and pointless sloganeering,” adding that this is a “populist cry” and “will amount to little or nothing.” “The initial emphasis on self-reliance was coupled with rampant protectionism and had terrible consequences for Indian industry not to mention the hapless consumer,” he argued.

After India gained independence, import substitution industrialization, a policy centring on displacing imported goods with domestically produced ones, was the guiding principle of economic experts in the country.

Successive Indian governments from 1947 to 1991 followed this inward-looking model of economic development, but it chained private organizations and eventually proved disastrous in turning India into an industrial and economic power.

As a balance of payments crisis in 1991 pushed New Delhi on the verge of bankruptcy and the Indian government was compelled to introduce significant reforms and liberalize the economy.

If ‘self-reliance’ is merely an appeal to organizations to become more resourceful — that is fine,” Krishna said. On the other hand, if it is an appeal for import substitution, I would be worried: India’s experience with this in the past has been calamitous.

“Regarding the dispute with China, I sincerely hope it is not used as a pretext for a generalized return to protectionism.”

Via: DW May Not Reflect The Views Of The EurAsian Times

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Russia Pressurized China To Release Indian Soldiers, End Border Conflict With India

“Russia played a low-key, but useful role in reducing India-China tensions after the June 15 episode. The capture of the Indian army men had cast a shadow on the Russia-India-China meet, with New Delhi finding it difficult to attend the meet, under those circumstances,” said a source.

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Russia’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ played a vital role in reducing India-China border tensions. Moscow’s efforts have helped in the release of ten Indian army soldiers that were captured by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ahead of the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meet on June 23.

India, China Agree To Withdraw Troops From LAC; The Question Is Who Will Pull-Out First?

As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off in the Galwan valley on June 15-16 after a clash broke out on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

It has been reported that the Chinese PLA troops have moved back tents, vehicles and soldiers by 1-2 kilometres from locations where disengagement was agreed upon at Corps Commander-level talks.

“Russia played a low-key, but useful role in reducing India-China tensions after the June 15 episode. The capture of the army men had cast a shadow on the RIC meet, with India finding it difficult to attend the meet, under those circumstances,” said a source.

RIC is a strategic grouping that was first held in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.” The group was founded based on ending its subservient foreign policy guided by the USA and renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.

Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of global GDP.

At RIC 2020, where the foreign ministers of the three nations got together via virtual conference Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia doesn’t have an intention to interfere in the India-China border conflict.

“I don’t see any reason for a third-party intervention to solve the current issue,” Lavrov said supporting India’s stand against any outside intervention to address bilateral differences.

However, sources indicated that Moscow used its good offices in various capitals to convey a message to China to show gestures to reduce tensions. “All three sides had stakes in reducing tensions.

Based on Russia’s relations with India and China, Moscow tried to create a situation that does not derail the RIC meeting. But the idea was not to intervene in a bilateral dispute, rather it was to use quiet diplomacy,” a source said.

The RIC meet, considered a confidence-building measure (CBM), enabled to keep Indian and the Chinese engaged without which ties could have touched a further low, according to some sources.

Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said earlier that the Kremlin is keeping a close watch on the issue. “Certainly, we are watching with great attention what is happening on the Chinese-Indian border. We believe that this is a very alarming report,” Peskov said.

Indian PMNarendra Modi’s surprise visit to Ladakh came hours after he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone to congratulate him for winning the constitutional amendment which would allow Putin to seek two more terms as president and, if re-elected, to stay in power until 2036.

Prime Minister Modi “conveyed his keenness to welcome President Putin in India” for the annual bilateral summit this year, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). However, the MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava did not give a direct answer when asked if the China-Indian border situation had been discussed.

The MEA said the two leaders “agreed to maintain the momentum of bilateral contacts and consultations”, and that Putin thanked the PM for the phone call and reiterated his commitment to further strengthen ties.

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