China urges India to restrain frontline troops, work together to maintain border peace
Published: Dec 13, 2022 06:51 PM Updated: Dec 13, 2022 06:49 PM
China India Photo: GT

China India Photo: GT

Chinese border troops were on a routine patrol on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on an eastern section of the China-India border on Friday when Indian troops illegally crossed the line and blocked the Chinese forces, the spokesperson of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theater Command announced on Tuesday. 

Faced with the trespass, the PLA dealt with the situation with professional, standard and powerful measures and stabilized the situation, said Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson of the PLA Western Theater Command, in a statement released on its official WeChat on Tuesday.

The two sides have now disengaged from contact, Long said, urging India to strictly control and restrain the frontline troops and work with China to maintain peace and tranquility along the border. 

Indian media outlets earlier claimed that there had been a clash between the two sides on the LAC on Friday, which allegedly led to soldiers suffering minor injuries of both sides.

Chinese Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday’s press briefing that the current situation is “generally stable” and asked India to abide by the spirit of relevant agreements signed by the two sides.

Wang stressed that both sides have been maintaining open communication on border-related issues through diplomatic and military channels. 

“We hope that India will meet China halfway, implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strictly abide by the spirit of the relevant agreements signed by the two sides, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border region,” Wang said. 

China and India have been working to de-escalate tensions since a military standoff in June 2020. On October 14, the two countries held the 25th meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on China-India border affairs, during which the two sides spoke highly of the achievements made in the disengagement of border troops. 

The two countries held the 16th round of the China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting in July, and reached a four-point consensus on the resolution of border issues between China and India. 

After the conflict in the western section of the China-India border in 2020, both sides stepped up their military configurations as well as infrastructure in the eastern section, Lin Minwang, a professor at the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "In a way, it was not surprising that both sides would clash in the eastern section of the border."

However, both sides have continued to negotiate at various levels over the past several years. This shows that both sides want to maintain stability in their relations and that the border situation is stable, Lin said.

What is worth noting is that historically, conflicts on the India-China border rarely occur in winter, Lin said. The expert believed that it is possible that India has chosen this timing to start a conflict in an attempt to release a certain message.

For India, the expert said, at the strategic level, it needs to signal to the outside world that China-India relations are tense, which is related to maintaining its position in front of the US, and that India also wants to sustain its strategy of balanced diplomacy.

However, he believes the conflict is unlikely to affect the situation between China and India in the border region. "From what we can see, official statements from both sides have maintained restraint."

Qian Feng, another scholar specializing in China-India relations, noted that Friday's clash is expected to add a new element of instability to the situation on the border and to the final resolution of the standoff. 

"But judging from the rapid calming down of the situation by the frontline border troops of both countries according to the existing communication mechanism, the possibility of further expansion of the situation is rather low," Qian, who is the director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

For now, after 16 rounds of high-level talks, the two sides have made obvious positive progress through peaceful consultations and commitment to jointly resolve the long-lasted border standoff, he said.

"The armies have completed disengagement, the border situation between the two countries has remained stable overall, and there are some good signs of stabilization and warming in relations between the two countries," Qian said.