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ExplainSpeaking: With stand-off at friction points continuing, expect a long battle of nerves on Ladakh LAC

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For the military, which thwarted Chinese advances in the Galwan valley, the challenge is to check them without things escalating into uncontrolled violent face-offs. The political questions have also constrained the government’s room for manoeuvre.

Hi there,

It’s a fortnight since the violent face-off between the Indian Army and Chinese forces at the Galwan valley in Ladakh created ripples in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Since then, there has been interaction between the foreign ministers (June 17), at the Corps Commander level (June 22), and in the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) (June 24). Additionally, there have been several statements from New Delhi and Beijing since then. Both sides have seemed to be talking at each other instead of talking to each other.

No wonder, not only has the military stand-off continued, but both sides have also firmed up their military build-up along the LAC in Ladakh. This is a clear indication of the trust deficit between the two sides.

The only redeeming development has been the absence of another violent face-off in the last fortnight. This, however, is no guarantee of none in future. More so, when the forces on both sides are engaged in a virtual eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with at least four friction points – Pangong TsoGalwan Valley, Hot Spring and Depsang.

Not only will these four friction points remain in public conversation during the coming days, there is also a risk of new friction points getting added to the conversation by one side or the other. Consequently, the military will continue building up along the LAC, while the diplomats will keep exploring options to defuse the situation.

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For the military, which thwarted Chinese advances in the Galway valley, the challenge is to check them without things escalating into uncontrolled violent face-offs. Politically, the funerals across the country have brought the stand-off close to the domestic audience. The political questions have also constrained the government’s room for maneuver. So expect more mud-signing between the BJP and opposition Congress, even as other parties watch from the fringes.

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