India-China LAC standoff: In a bid to reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, New Delhi has come up with a four-pronged approach that will allow Indian Army to disengage. The approach has been discussed since the June 24 meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, The Indian Express reported. According to the report, the four-pillar approach was briefed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval after the Special Representative-level talks took place with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese State Councillor on July 5. Modi along with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the NSA, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah finalised the approach between July 5 and July 6.
Four-pronged disengagement approach at LAC
- The report highlighted that the first approach suggested includes lowering the public rhetoric. This means that some conciliatory and diplomatic space will be given to both sides where they can opt for “an honourable exit from the impasse.” This has also been reflected in the Indian statement during the SR-level talk. The report said that this did not raise the Galwan valley issue or even discussed the atmosphere being vitiated, which had not been the case earlier.
- The second approach proposed is to suspend patrolling temporarily. This will include disengaging and taking steps back 1.5 km on each side of the LAC. The report said that the buffer zone created is likely to reduce the possibility of a clash when the troops disengage and avoid the eyeball-to-eyeball situation. All the ground-level troops are informed on the same as this is a temporary measure that will help build confidence. Further, the report said that it does not imply that both sides will forfeit their right to patrol within their patrolling limits.
- Another approach for disengagement consists of aggressive surveillance as well as reconnaissance of friction points. The move has been proposed due to the trust deficit between the two sides. The report asserted that the Indian government with the help from international partners has enough capability for real-time intelligence that will keep the government informed on any change in status quo by the Chinese.
- The last aspect of the four pronged approach is to keep Indian troops deployed in the rear areas till the time the complete disengagement process has happened. The report stressed that the entire frontier in eastern Ladakh is involved, the guard cannot be lowered at any time.
Citing officials, the report said that the Chinese government will have to maintain their word on the disengagement process and the leadership in New Delhi as well as Beijing has approved the understanding reached, as per the report.