NEWS INDIA CHINA
NEW DELHI: India and China “agreed on Friday that complete disengagement of troops and de-escalation as per bilateral agreement are essential for smooth overall development of bilateral relations.” This was stated by the Union External Affairs Ministry in a statement later in the day, but doubts persist about China’s real intentions along the northern border.
The 17th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held on Friday, with the Indian delegation led by the joint secretary (East Asia) from the MEA, and the Chinese one led by the director general of Boundary and Oceanic Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting has agreed that another meeting of senior commanders may be held soon to work out steps to ensure full disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the External Affairs ministry statement said.
It said the meeting reviewed the situation in India-China border areas and ongoing disengagement process along LAC in the western sector. “They agreed that complete disengagement of troops and de-escalation as per bilateral agreement was essential for smooth overall development of bilateral relations… The two sides also agreed that full restoration of peace and tranquility was essential for… development of bilateral relations.
They also agreed to maintain their ongoing engagements at diplomatic and military level, including through the meetings of WMCC,” the MEA statement said.
The two sides agreed that it is necessary to sincerely implement the understandings reached between senior commanders in meetings, the statement said.
Notably, the fourth round of military level talks between India and China was held on July 14.
LESS OF OPTIMISM
While India issued the statement hinting at a thaw in the frozen ties between the two countries – in the context of the existing military tension in Ladakh region – nothing goes to show the Chinese would act in a positive manner. In the past too, after high-level discussions to sort out matters of differences, China returned to the ground to violate the agreements/understandings they were believed to have signed.
While tension is palpable in Ladakh for quite some time, Chinese PLA aggravated it on July 15 by brutally killing 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan Valley, without resorting to firing, but in a crude manner. Both China and India are raising their military strengths on respective sides of the border since then. China is still occupying a part of the land it usurped in the present engagement.
Meanwhile, India on Thursday brought in a new rule stipulating that companies from China and other nations in the region will have to register with a committee set up by the Department for Promotion and Industry and Internal Trade (DPITT) before they are allowed to be eligible for any government tender hereafter.
The order said, “Any bidder from such countries sharing a land border with India will be eligible to bid in any procurement whether of goods, services (including consultancy services and non-consultancy services) or works (including turnkey projects) only if the bidder is registered with the competent authority.”
The Modi government is apparently opening a new front against China, on the trade and business front, in view of the worsening relations between the two countries in recent months, a la the Galwan Valley incident. As per this order, henceforth, political and security clearance from the Ministries of External and Home Affairs are mandatory if companies from these neighbouring nations must get the registration certificate. –IHN-NN
INDIA HERE AND NOW