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India China: Dialogue and Deterrence go “Hand in Hand”



Hand in Hand was the name of series of joint exercises conducted by India and China in the heyday of India China defence relationship last held in 2019, post Galwan in 2020 the posture is that of limited dialogue with deterrence the former in the form of ambivalent posturing.


During an interview with the Newsweek magazine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated that there could be talks with China. “It is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us,” Modi was quoted as saying. "I hope and believe that through positive and constructive bilateral engagement at the diplomatic and military levels, we will be able to restore and sustain peace and tranquility in our borders,” he said.


This is an indication of Indian intent expressed at the highest level post the polls.


Responding to the same Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a media briefing on April 11 that “We believe that sound and stable China, India relations serve the common interests of both sides and are conducive to peace and development of the region and beyond”, she said.


At the same time, she reiterated the stand of the Chinese government, that the boundary question "does not represent the entirety of the India-China relations. It should be placed appropriately in the bilateral relations and managed properly”.

 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Aprill 28 said talks between India and China are going smoothly and in a good environment during campaigning for BJP candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections. "India is no longer a weak India. India has also become a powerful country from a military point of view. We want to maintain good relations with our neighbouring countries," the minister said when asked about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's accusation against the Narendra Modi government over Chinese aggression.


"I understand that we should wait for the outcome of the talks. But I want to assure the countrymen that India has not bowed down anywhere, nor will it ever bow down," he said.


This comes even as a Times of India report on 29 April indicated that China continues to build border infrastructure and dual-use ‘Xiaokang’ villages, strengthen military positions and deploy additional aircraft at air-bases  in Tibet Autonomous Retion. “People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is relentlessly consolidating its military positions and support infrastructure in various depth and staging areas along the LAC, including near the buffer zones created after troop disengagements in eastern Ladakh,” an unnamed defence and security source was quoted by the Times of India. China is focusing on enhancing approaches to the three buffer zones created so far in the Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra Hot Springs. Apart from infrastructure defence structures have also come up as per the Times of India.  The Chinese appear to be concentrating opposite Sikkim and Towang sectors.


Airfield upgradation has been noticed in Hotan, Kashgar, Gargunsa, Shigatse, Bangda, Nyingchi and Hoping. JH-7A fighter-bombers and three Y-20 heavy-lift aircraft, among others, deployed at Hotan in Xinjiang to add to the almost 50 J-11 and J-7 fighters, five Y-8 and Y-7 transport aircraft and KJ-500 AEW&C (airborne early-warning and control) aircraft already at these air bases as per the Times of India. 


Repopulation of the Chinese dual-use ‘Xiaokang’ border villages are also ongoing with ;lans to have 628 such border defence villages.


“All this clearly indicates PLA will continue to permanently station troops in forward locations along the LAC, even if eventually there is some sort of disengagement at the two major persisting face-off sites at Depsang and Demchok in eastern Ladakh,” the unnamed defence and security source was quoted by the Times of India.

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