Peace talks in Moscow . . .
Chinese and Indian foreign ministers agreed on Friday to disengage from the ongoing conflict at their Himalayan border. Their meetings took place on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit (SCO), held in Moscow last week. In a joint statement, both sides agreed that the border conflict is not in the interest of either side and pledged to “maintain peace and tranquility” in the contested region. The two foreign ministers agreed that border militaries would keep their distance to reduce local tension. The statement also called on both sides to respect existing agreements and protocols at the border, which include the prohibition of the use of firearms.
Months of bilateral tensions . . .
The agreement follows two months of the two nuclear-armed neighbours inching towards a war. A June clash saw both sides fight in Ladakh's Galwan Valley with clubs and stones, resulting in 20 Indian soldiers’ deaths and unknown casualties on the Chinese side. Since then, both sides have been reinforcing military deployment in the region with heavy weaponry, including artillery, tanks, and fighter jets. Last week, India and China accused each other of firing shots at the borders, violating the 1996 agreement to ban the use of guns and explosives at the Line of Actual Control. While Friday's agreement signals the political will from both sides to deescalate the conflict, some analysts suggest that it does not deal with the underlying issues and that the risk of war lingers.
Russia as peace broker . . .
As Sino-Indian relations remain tense, Russia has been trying to mediate the conflict between the two SCO members. While Russia has maintained a relatively neutral stance on the border dispute, some analysts suggest that deteriorating Sino-Indian relations would only push New Delhi to align with the U.S. and other Indo-Pacific nations, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. As Russia chairs both SCO and BRICS this year, ongoing tension between China and India could further jeopardize Russia's diplomatic agenda at the two multilateral fora and see Russia take a deeper interest in regional issues.
- Associated Press: India, China agree to disengage thousands of border troops
- The New York Times: Shots fired along India-China Border for first time in years
- South China Morning Post: Border dispute: What’s at stake for Russia as it tries to mediate between China and India?