The disengagement at the LAC is vital for the broader relationship with China
The stand-offs on the north and south banks, involving troops and artillery, remained the hardest nut to crack over nine long rounds of talks between military commanders. With this agreement, the only pending problems now are smaller, less concerning stand-offs involving fewer troops in Patrolling Points 15 and 17A in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, which will be taken up 48 hours after disengagement at Pangong Lake is completed over the next few weeks. In the Depsang plains, there is no stand-off situation or heavy deployment of troops, but a long-running dispute over the LAC and blocking of patrols that predates the current crisis and as yet remains unresolved. The success of the new disengagement plan will finally depend on whether it is implemented on the ground in letter and in spirit. The events of last year have left enormous distrust, which remains a hurdle and China’s actions on the ground have not always matched its commitments. Both sides should keep in mind what is at stake for the broader relationship between the two most populous countries, which ultimately hinges on peace on the border.
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