India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has highlighted the mutually-defeating potential of both countries’ inability to come to terms over a long-time Western Himalayas border dispute. His statements come in the wake of an agreement only a year before.
The 2020 pact ensured military commanders from both sides completely pull out troops, artillery, and tanks from the Pangong Lake area this February. It was the first concrete march towards total withdrawal from other points of friction.
Jaishankar points out that those other areas of disagreement are still unresolved. His ministry’s official statement quotes him as saying that both parties are positive that it’s mutually beneficial to pursue proactive means to douse tensions and improve the present relationship.
At a gathering of foreign ministers in Tajikistan on Wednesday, Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, met on the sidelines to thrash out thorny issues. It has become imperative to dialogue following multiple altercations involving thousands of soldiers on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Continuing LAC and Pangong Lake face-offs since April 2020 is raising fears of more significant conflict between China and India.
In June 2020, lives were lost on both sides for the first time in forty years after intense clashes in the area. But, both ministers seem determined to turn the tide and forge a path of peace for generations to come. They have agreed to arrive at a solution acceptable to both parties, while ensuring stability on the ground. It’s clear they fully understand the grave potential implications that unilateral action could lead to. As the history shows, no side can accurately tell how far tensions can go, and there’s no way to tell when they might simmer.
Hopefully, Jaishankar and Yi can work out a roadmap that their principals will approve of.
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