Top 10 Indo-China developments

1. De-escalation

India and China on Thursday agreed to resolve the outstanding issues in an “expeditious manner and in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols” and said the two sides will continue to sincerely work towards complete disengagement of the troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.The two countries held the 18th meeting of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on border affairs on Thursday and agreed that restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas would be essential for the overall development of bilateral relations.

India has been demanding status quo ante — of troops on both sides returning to locations before the standoff. Failing to achieve a breakthrough, India has begun preparing for extended deployment on the LAC.

2. Indian Dr. Kotnis’s bronze statue to be unveiled in China

A bronze statue of Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis would be unveiled outside a medical school in North China next month. He is revered in China for his contributions during the Chinese revolution headed by its founder Mao Zedong and the World War II.

China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong has said that India and China should attract each other like magnets rather than be separated forcefully.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18 on August 28, Weidong emphasised the need for the two countries to meet halfway in order bring the bilateral relationship back on track. He said it would be a miscalculation to treat a close neighbour as an enemy on the basis of one incident, referring to the recent clash between Indian and Chinese troops at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June earlier this year. Source: WionNews

3. Advancing Indo-Vietnam bond

Vietnam has been angered by satellite images showing China recently deployed at least one H-6J missile-carrying bomber to Woody Island, one of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.The images prompted Vietnam’s foreign ministry last week to warn the bombers’ presence on the island – known as Yongxing in China and Phu Lam in Vietnam – not only violated Vietnamese sovereignty but “jeopardised peace” in the region.The images are thought to have been high on the agenda when Vietnamese ambassador Pham Sanh Chau met Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla last Friday to brief him on escalating tensions in the South China Sea. They are also thought to have featured in discussions during a virtual meeting between Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh on Tuesday.Carlyle Thayer, emeritus professor of the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said this was not the first time China had deployed bombers to the Paracels – it dispatched several H-6K long-range bombers there in 2018. However, Vietnam’s openness about the ambassador’s meeting was significant.“Given that [this time] Vietnam made its brief to India public, it is likely that Vietnam is engaging in a diplomatic exercise to call out China’s actions with the objective of eliciting political support,” Thayer said. Source:HT

4. Advanced fighter jets sent to nearby airbases

China and India have reportedly sent their most advanced fighter jets to airbases near their disputed border region in the Himalayas, where a stand-off continues.

According to a Forbes report on Monday that cited commercial satellite imagery, two Chinese J-20 stealth fighters have appeared at the Hotan airbase in the far western Xinjiang region.

The airbase is China’s closest – about 320km (200 miles) – to the disputed Aksai Chin region.India has meanwhile deployed five new Dassault Rafale fighter jets to Ladakh, the Hindustan Times reported last week. It said the Rafale fighter jets had been practising night flying in the mountainous terrain of Himachal Pradesh.

5. ‘India first’ policy, China port deal a mistake: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka wants to pursue a “neutral” foreign policy but will retain an “India First” approach in strategic and security matters, foreign secretary Jayanath Colombage has said.

Speaking to a Sri Lankan TV channel, Colombage said on Monday, “President (Gotabaya Rajapaksa) has stated that in terms of strategic security, we will follow an ‘India first’ policy. We cannot afford to be a strategic security threat to India and we don’t have to be. We need to benefit from India. The president has clearly said that you are our first priority as far as security is concerned but I have to deal with other players for economic prosperity.” Along with pursuing a neutral foreign policy, Sri Lanka will protect India’s strategic interests, he added. In his remarks, the foreign secretary, the first from the armed services, said the decision to give Hambantota port on a 99-year lease to China was a “mistake”. Source:TOI

6. India’s counter to Thai Canal project/ Kra Canal

According to top military officials, India will upgrade the airstrip at INS Kohassa, Shibpur in north Andamans and at the Campbell strip at Nicobar into full-fledged fighter bases. The airstrip at Agatti, in Lakshadweep will also be upgraded for military operations to secure both the Bay of Bengal upto Malacca Straits and Arabian Sea up to Gulf of Aden.

7. India to raise new Air Defence Command in October

The department of military affairs under Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has hastened the process of restructuring the armed forces and a new Air Defence Command under the Indian Air Force (IAF) may be set up at Allahabad.

“The work has been hastened to prepare the structure of the command under an Air Force officer. Efforts are being made to put everything together and announce the creation of the air defence command at Prayagraj around the Air Force Day on October 8 this year,” government sources were quotes as saying.

8. Kavkaz- Trilateral exercise between India-Pak-China in

India is sending a tri-services contingent of around 200 personnel to Southern Russia in September for participating in a multi-lateral Kavkaz-2020 exercise, Indian Army sources said.

Along with several other countries, troops of China and Pakistan are also likely to participate in the event, sources said. The Indian contingent would include 160 personnel from the army, along with 40 troops of the Indian Air Force and two Navy officers for the observers there.

The exercise is being held in the Astrakhan province of Southern Russia where member countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Central Asian countries would be participating. Source: NDTV

9. India stops oil purchases from China

Indian refiners have stopped buying crude oil from Chinese sellers, according to a Reuters report that cited unnamed sources.

The move, according to the report, comes as a result of new legislation passed by Indian lawmakers that aims to restrict imports from the country’s neighbours after bilateral relations with China deteriorated following a border clash that involved fatalities on the Indian side. Source:OilPrice

By Kunjan Ahluwalia

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