Like in 2017 Doklam crisis, India and China are exploring a sooner-than-later intervention by their highest leadership to break the ice of a 26-day border stand-off in eastern Ladakh.
This after military officials and diplomats failed to resolve the stand-off despite extensive interactions at various levels. ” We are exploring the possibility of a video conference between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week as soon as possible, ” said a top Chinese leader , but on condition of anonymity because he was officially not authorised to speak to media.
He told Easternlink that the two leaders have excellent personal rapport and their G20 sideline meeting at Hamburg in 2017 helped break the ice on the 73-day Doklam stand-off.
” They followed up the Hamburg meeting with the summit at Xiamen and they gave strategic directive to their militaries to disengage and restore normality,” the leader said. “All that worked.” He said the Chinese leadership is upset with the ‘needless belligerence’ of some of Modi’s ministers like Amit Shah , who threatens to retake Aksai China, and Rajnath Singh , who said last week that there could no resolution with China ‘ at the cost of national honour’.
” Our leaders would much rather prefer to deal with Modi who is seen as pragmatic and his National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister S Jaishanker, who are both highly rated professionals. Vote-seeking politicians and TRP-seeking media in India are complicating the whole issue,” the leader with knowledge of high-level decision-making said.
He was perhaps hinting at a Modi-Xi videocon breaking the ice and a possible 2+2 involving NSA Doval abd External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and their Chinese counterparts to work out a concrete border peace pact .
In Delhi, official MEA spokesmen were not yet confirming or denying a Modi-Xi videocon in the offing, but they say the two sides were ‘capable of resolving the crisis.’
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One senior official said there were multiple proposals on the table , but admitted the pitch for a highest level video conference was gaining ground because ” both sides were alarmed by the continuing tensions in Ladakh.”
In the lighter vein, the official said :” War and peace are too important an issue to be left to soldiers.”
Tensions mounted at the weekend after military commanders failed to resolve the impasse in Eastern Ladakh and began moving heavy weapons to the scene of alleged Chinese intrusions and where the two armies were locked in hand-to-hand combat without weapons in earky May.
India’s government has disclosed few details about what has actually happened, saying in a statement only that it was the “Chinese side that has recently undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns.”
Mr. Modi, who is usually outspoken in defense of his country’s interests, appears intent on avoiding an escalation, analysts said.
“The military skirmishes and standoffs with India seem to reflect Beijing’s calculation that India’s still increasing Covid-19 infections, coupled with its economic downturn, place it in no position to wage a border conflict,” said Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research.