India plans to push the Chinese side for an exchange of maps in the western sector after the process of disengagement and de-escalation is complete and Indian troops go back to their old patrolling posts, reports The Times of India.
Government officials said this would clarify each other’s claim lines and actual control, which would make management and patrolling protocols easier.
China has so far refused to exchange maps in this sector. Even after 22 rounds of talks on the boundary question, it has shown no inclination to exchange maps or clarify the LAC, having exchanged maps for only the central sector.
While a resolution of the boundary question is a distance away, the Galwan clashes, India hopes, is sufficient reason to clarify this sector. China’s reluctance to exchange maps led to the suspicion that they want to keep it fluid to be able to change the situation on the ground.
High level government sources said the disengagement was currently underway to get both countries to move their troops back from the forward positions they had moved to in the past few months.
This is being monitored closely, certainly by India. This is expected to be followed by a de-escalation by moving back troops and weapons from what is called ‘depth areas’. ‘It’s not as if we’re conceding territory to them,’ an official involved in the negotiations said.
The process is expected to take a long time. Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development gave a grant of $1 million to the Central Tibetan Administration to ‘strengthen the financial and cultural resilience of the Tibetan
people and contribute towards sustained resilience of the Tibetan people’s economic and cultural identity’.
This is the first time the Tibetan government in exile has received direct funding from the US (with a nod from India) for development assistance.
The Sikyong (prime minister) of the CTA, Lobsang Sangay, was quoted as saying, ‘The awarding of direct funding to the CTA fulfils a long desired aspiration and represents the culmination of many years of effort since my first term.’
This is part of the new elements that have encroached on the India-China relationship.
The events of the past couple of months, culminating in the bloody clashes in Galwan Valley, will mean that fresh boundary management rules will have to be worked out between the two sides.
‘Several decades of confidence building measures and protocols for boundary management, patrolling protocols etc have all been destroyed. We have to go back to the drawing board,’ an official said. The degree of mistrust is the highest it has ever been between the two neighbours.
Military strategists and China observers said India should avoid the Doklamoutcome, where the Chinese built up positions on their side after the disengagement at the face-off site. If this is repeated in Ladakh, it could have serious implications for both sides, but more so for India, which occupies much more hostile terrain than China.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Asia