Why in News

India and China have just finished up their third round of Corps Commander level talks, which took place not too long ago.

  • The expeditious, phased, and step-by-step de-escalation of tensions in areas close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh has been emphasized as a priority by both parties.

Key Points


    • During the first two rounds of negotiations, India’s primary goal was to get the situation back to the way it was before the standoff began in May of 2020.
    • On May 5 and 6, combat broke out between Indian and Chinese troops at Pangong Tso in Ladakh.
  • While faceoffs and standoffs keep occurring on the LAC due to differences in perception on the alignment, there has been noinstance of firing on the LAC since 1975.
  • Clashes occurred in Galwan Valley (Ladakh) after the first round of talks on June 6, 2020. These clashes resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.
    • In 1962, a war broke out between India and China.

India’s Response:

  • Military:
    • In order to match the deployments of the Chinese military across the LAC, India has sent additional divisions, tanks, and artillery.
    • In addition, India has given its approval for the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and the upgrading of 59 different types of military aircraft, which will cost a total of Rs. 18,148 crore.
  • Economic:
  • The government has banned 59 mobile applications, citing the “emergent nature of threats” posed by mobile applications, including popular ones with Chinese roots such as TikTok, ShareIt, UCBrowser, and Weibo. Among the banned apps is also Weibo.
  • Additionally, because of the drop in imports, India’s trade deficit with China decreased to $48.66 billion in 2019-20.
  • When compared to the previous year’s total of $63 billion, the trade deficit in 2018-19 was $53.56 billion.
    • However, India’s economic dependencies on China have been brought to light as a result of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus as well as the tensions on the border.
    • In a number of crucial and strategically important industries, including semiconductors, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and the telecommunications industry, where Chinese vendors are involved not only in India’s 4G network but also in ongoing 5G trials, India continues to rely on products made in China. This includes the semiconductor industry.
  • China’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India decreased to $163.78 million in 2019-20, down from $229 million in 2018-19.
    • In April of 2020, the government of India tightened the regulations for foreign direct investment (FDI) coming from countries that share land borders with India. It is now necessary to obtain approval from the government.
  • China’s Reaction:
    • It has been described as “a deliberate interference in practical cooperation” between the two countries as a result of the action to ban the application. The state run media in China has issued a warning about potential economic repercussions, such as the potential impact on outbound Chinese investment into India.

Possible Reasons Behind Increased China’s Deployment at the LAC

  • The decision made by India to improve the infrastructure along its borders (Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road).
  • The alignment of India with the United States (e.g., the Quad) in the midst of tensions between the United States and China.
  • China considers India’s claims about Gilgit-Baltistan to be an indirect assault on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is China’s flagship initiative.
  • The increasing belligerence displayed by China in the South China Sea.
  • Tensions on the political and economic fronts within China as a result of the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.
  • India’s emergence as a major player in the Asia-Pacific region.

Line of Actual Control

DemarcationLine: The demarcation that separates territory that is controlled by the Indians from territory that is controlled by the Chinese is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

  • LAC is different from the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan:
    • The Line of Control originated from the ceasefire line that was negotiated by the United Nations (UN) in 1948 following the Kashmir War.
    • After the Shimla Agreement was reached between the two nations in 1972, it became officially recognized as the LoC.
    • It is delineated on a map that has been signed by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of both armies, and it has the international sanctity that comes with a legal agreement.
    • In contrast, the LAC is only a concept; neither country has agreed upon it, nor has it been drawn out on a map, nor has it been demarcated physically on the ground.

Length of the LAC: The length of the LAC, according to India, is 3,488 kilometers, but according to the Chinese, its length is only about 2,000 kilometers.

 Sectors Across the LAC:

  • It is segmented into three sectors: the eastern sector, which runs through Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim for a total of 1346 kilometers; the middle sector, which runs through Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh for a distance of 545 kilometers; and the western sector, which runs through Ladakh (1597 km).
    • The McMahon Line, which was established in 1914, serves as the LAC’s alignment in the eastern sector.
    • Prior to the establishment of the McMohan line, the boundaries between Britain and Tibet were ambiguous or unclaimed.
  • The western sector is the one that sees the most transgressions between the two sides, while the middle sector is the one that sees the least amount of conflict.


• The claim line that India has staked out is distinct from the one that the LAC has. It is the line that can be seen in the official boundary marked on the maps as they have been released by the Survey of India, including Aksai Chin (occupied by China).

• In the case of China, the LAC mostly corresponds to its claim line; however, in the eastern sector, China claims the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh as being part of South Tibet.

• It is not when a conversation is taking place about a working border, such as the LAC, that the claim lines come into question; rather, this occurs when there is a discussion on the final international boundaries.

Border Negotiations:

  • Following the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to China in 2003, an agreement was reached regarding the appointment of Special Representatives (SRs). Two years later, in April 2005, an agreement was reached regarding the political parameters and principles that would underpin future negotiations.
    • The objective was to find a solution that was all-encompassing and included all three fields. The agreed-upon boundary would follow clearly defined geographical features while also taking into account the needs of any populations that had already settled there.
  • During the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to China in May 2015, the Chinese government decided against accepting the Indian proposal to clarify the LAC.
  • However, both China and India reaffirmed in their respective summits in Wuhan (2018) and Mahabalipuram (2019) that they will make efforts to “ensure peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

Relevance of Pangong Tso Lake

  • Location: It is an endorheic (landlocked) lake that is extremely long, narrow, and deep. It is located at an elevation of more than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) in the Ladakh Himalayas.
  • Significance: It is located in the path of the Chushul approach, which is one of the primary approaches that China can use for an offensive into Indian-held territory. Moreover, it lies in the path of the Chushul approach.
  • Governance: It is surrounded on all sides by the Finger Area, which is a collection of eight cliffs that extend out from the Sirijap range (on the northern bank of Lake).
    • India asserts that the LAC is equivalent to Finger 8, despite the fact that it only has physical control over territory up to Finger 4.
    • The Chinese government believes that the LAC travels through Finger 2, despite the fact that its border posts are located at Finger 8.

Way Forward

  • There are specific protocols in place for soldiers to follow in the event of a face-off incident. Both the agreement on border defense cooperation from 2013 and the protocol from 2005 need to be adhered to by the countries.
  • On April 1, 2020, India and China celebrated the culmination of 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both parties need to admit that the current state of affairs is precarious and that recent events, in particular, have rendered null and void decades’ worth of painstakingly negotiated mechanisms for fostering confidence.
  • The reestablishment of the border situation as it was in April needs to be the top priority for India in order for the situation to return to normal. This will require both a show of military strength at the border by standing up to Chinese aggression and diplomatic work by making it clear to China that its intervention will lead to heavy costs across all spheres of the relationship. It is necessary to do both of these things in order to achieve this goal.
  • Even in the digital sphere, India is unable to afford to completely cut off all of its economic ties with the economy that is the second largest in the world. The incipient economy of India will benefit from the investment of Chinese capital. On the other hand, through the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, India can work toward the goal of reducing its reliance on imported Chinese goods in those industries in which this is feasible. In addition to this, it is necessary for it to strengthen its economic relations with other nations.