Why This Spells Trouble for Disengagement Talks
China’s insistence on defining the LAC in this manner means that they will continue to be blame India for the ongoing tensions and the Galwan Valley clash on 15 June. This in itself creates a fundamental difference between the two sides, as China’s moves in the region since May correspond to this perception of the LAC.
HT spoke to some diplomatic officials familiar with the talks between India and China on this issue over the years, who said that “the LAC clarification process broke down ‘an hour into the meeting’ in 2002.”
The talks don’t appear to have progressed on this point at all in the years since, including through the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs which was set up in 2012.
Only a few days previously, Yun Sun, co-director of the East Asia Program and director of the China Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, had suggested to ThePrint that China are probably aiming to define the LAC on the 1959 basis. Trying to resolve this diplomatically will require negotiations involving historical evidence and legal documents that “are unlikely to go anywhere”, she said.
This means, according to Sun, that this was likely to lead to the creation of an LOC-style ‘border’ in the western sector, based on military realities, rather than an officially agreed LAC. This could strike a blow to India’s approach to the disengagement talks, which has focused on a return to the ‘status quo ante’.