Before they can safely usher in a new, prosperous multipolar world that they envision with their expanded BRICS, nuclear-armed China and India will have to resolve their border tensions that left two dozen soldiers dead in a 2020 clash.
WATCH – a skirmish between Chinese and Indian forces in their contested border:
In the run-up to the Johannesburg summit, the 19th round of military-level talks between the two Asian giants failed to yield a breakthrough on the border deadlock.
So, on the sidelines of the main event, an impromptu meeting between the parts took place, reportedly at the request of India’s PM Modi, in which he highlighted India’s concerns about their unresolved border issues.
While that does not appear to be much, it’s an improvement over their last personal meeting in 2022, in Indonesia, for the G20. There, Xi and Modi exchanged pleasantries, but no real dialogue took place.
Associated Press reported:
“India’s prime minister and China’s leader agreed Thursday to intensify efforts to de-escalate tensions at the disputed border between them and bring home thousands of their troops deployed there, according to an official from India’s foreign ministry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of a Johannesburg summit where the BRICS bloc of developing economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — invited six other countries to join the group, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.”
The disputed boundary in the Himalayan frontier has led to a three-year standoff between tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese soldiers in the area, where an armed clash in 2020 killed 20 Indian soldiers and four Chinese.
A Line of Actual Control (LAC) now separates Chinese and Indian-held territories. That was NOT the first confrontation between the countries in the area.
“India and China had fought a war over their border in 1962. China claims some 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh with its mainly Buddhist population.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current faceoff is happening.”
So, there you go: each country is laying claim on territory held by the other. That does not strike one as an easy geopolitical puzzle to solve.
Times of India reported:
“The [Indian] foreign secretary [Vinay Kwatra] said Modi and Xi agreed to direct their relevant officials to intensify efforts at “expeditious disengagement and de-escalation.”
‘Expeditious’ seems the operative word here. How can those two Asian Giants mean to steer the ‘Global South’ into an era of prosperity if they are at each other’s throats in the Himalaya?
“Relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have been sour for more than three years after soldiers from both sides clashed in the Himalayan frontier in June 2020, resulting in 24 deaths.
While the situation on the nearly 3,000-km (1,860-mile)frontier has been calm since, the face-off continues in a few pockets.”
Discussions over the issue have taken place at several levels, aiming to find solutions to the border impasse – but a resolution remains elusive. The two sides say the talks have been positive, but they are nowhere near any pullback of troops on the ground.
“Xi told Modi that improving China-India relations served the interests of the two countries and was conducive to peace, stability, and development, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency, which said the meeting was at Modi’s request.
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‘The two sides should bear in mind the overall interests of their bilateral relations and handle properly the border issue so as to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border region’, Xi said.”