Joint Indo-Chinese Declaration Highlights Need to Build Confidence | World news

The joint statement issued after the meeting of foreign ministers of India and China in Moscow proposes a new package of confidence-building measures (CBMs) to keep the peace along the disputed border, an indication that bilateral agreements existing failed to cover the gaps in trust between the troops of the two countries on the border.

“The two foreign ministers agreed that as the situation improves, the two sides should accelerate the completion of new mutual confidence measures to maintain and strengthen peace and tranquility in the border area,” he said. The statement released after Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Thursday in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting said.

He did not detail what the CBMs could be, but indicates that New Delhi and Beijing believe more measures need to be put in place before the situation spirals out of control in the hostile Himalayan terrain.

The priority, of course, is first to disengage the two armies along the sticking points.

Tensions over the past four months along the Line of Effective Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh indicate that a half-dozen border agreements and dozens of rounds of talks – including 22 rounds led by High-level Mechanism Special Representatives (SRs) – failed to prevent what happened on the night of June 15 in the Galwan Valley – the deaths of soldiers and the rapid erosion of confidence.

So far, the main agreements between New Delhi and Beijing to maintain peace at the border are the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Effective Control at the Sino-Indian Border ( 1993), the Agreement on Military Confidence-Building Measures along the Line of Real Control at the Sino-Indian Border (1996), and the Agreement on Border Defense Cooperation between India and India. China (2013), who list ways to reduce misunderstandings between the two countries along the border, including prohibiting one side from following or actively following patrols on the other side.

Other agreements signed in 2005 and 2012 speak of the construction of confidence-building measures, political parameters and guiding principles for the settlement of the border issue and the establishment of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on business. Sino-Indian borders.

New Delhi believes Beijing’s action in the Galwan Valley has reneged on three of the major bilateral agreements – from 1993, 1996 and 2013 – that have kept the disputed border for the most part silent.

Clearly, more needs to be done.

“The Indian side does not consider that the development of Indo-Chinese relations depends on the settlement of the border issue and India does not want to go back,” said a statement from China on the meeting, quoting Jaishankar.

It is however quite clear that the question of borders, especially after the current wave of tension and the death of the troops, is linked to the overall relationship.

Friction and violence have impacted economic and trade relations in addition to hampering people-to-people exchanges, all in a year that marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Indian diplomatic ties.

The new round of friction has also affected the growing economic interdependence between the two countries.

Admittedly, the new confidence-building measures planned to maintain peace at the border must target and fill the ground-level confidence gaps between the two armies.

The problem is the fact that LAC is not demarcated – perceptions differ on the two sides.

There also needs to be a consensus among senior leaders on the new confidence-building measures, which may not be so easy.

“The two leaders (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping) take a more assertive stance towards all rivals, including each other; attributing the military tensions to the hostility of the other side and demanding that the soldiers stand firm in defending national borders and firmly repel the perceived aggression, ”write Toby Dalton and Tong Zhao of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in a document by research on current tensions.

Jaishankar and Wang, however, seem to agree that there is an urgent need to disengage from hostility and restore engagement both diplomatically and militarily.

According to the Indo-Chinese joint statement, the two agreed that “the current situation in the border areas is not in the interests of either side” and “therefore … border troops from both sides should continue their dialogue. , disengage quickly, maintain appropriate distance and ease tensions.

The ministers agreed that “the two sides will abide by all existing agreements and protocols on Sino-Indian border affairs, maintain peace and quiet in the border areas, and avoid any actions that may make matters worse.”

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