Three years since the Galwan Clash

Three years since the Galwan Clash

News: Three years after the infamous Galwan clash, the India-China border dispute still remains a significant geopolitical issue.

What was the Galwan valley clash?
• The Galwan Valley clash was a violent confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops in the disputed border area of Ladakh on June 15-16, 2020. It was the first deadly clash between the two sides in 45 years, and resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian and several Chinese soldiers.
• The clash involved hand-to-hand combat with stones, clubs, and iron rods, as no firearms were used due to previous protocols.

What is the current status of conflict?
• The conflict between India and China following the Galwan Valley clash in 2020 remains unresolved, with both sides maintaining a significant military presence along the disputed Line of Actual Control.
• 18 rounds of high-level military talks have been conducted so far, focusing on disengagement and restoring peace along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Some success has been achieved, with disengagement in several areas following extensive diplomatic and military discussions.
• India continues to demand restoration of status quo of April 2020 at Ladakh which China has refused.
• However, as a result of the ongoing diplomatic, political, and military conversations, troops have successfully disengaged from multiple areas including Galwan Valley, the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, and the Gogra Post-Hot Springs area. This indicates that despite the friction, both sides are willing to engage in dialogue to resolve conflicts.

What are the underlying concerns?
• China has been resistant to discussing the strategic Depsang Plains and Demchok areas, stating that these are “legacy issues” that predate the April 2020.
• China wants India to have separate look at border issues and bilateral trade relationships. India sees peace and clarity at border front as a prerequisite for any normalization of Bilateral relations.

What are challenges in resolving border dispute?
• The India-China border dispute has a long and complex history that dates back to the 1962 border war.
• China’s attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC, including military incursions into Indian territory, have significantly escalated tensions and complicated resolution efforts.
• Both sides have been strengthening their military presence and infrastructure along the LAC which dims the likelihood of peace anytime sooner.
• The establishment of buffer zones during the disengagement process has resulted in India losing more territory than China.
• The border dispute has aroused strong nationalist sentiments and emotions in both countries, which can constrain or influence their policy choices and actions.

Way Forward
• Building trust, resolving legacy issues and continuing dialogue and diplomacy at the highest level is the need of the hour. 

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