Built on the lines of the 1988 visit to China undertaken by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his talks with China’s leader Deng Xiaoping setting a new tone for relations post 1962 war, the Modi-Xi dialogue in Wuhan was aimed at building a new platform for bilateral relations for the next 15 years. The leadership driven summit has given a way forward for more stable bilateral ties. This is the fourth visit of Modi to China since 2014 and he is due to visit China against in the SCO Summit on 9-10 June.
The heightened tensions along the Line of Actual Control since last year are expected to deescalate now, even though the troop confrontations will continue to take place with China and India actively working towards establishing a hotline between the commanders and resuming the military exercises. The decision at the informal summit basically comes down to ordering the troops to defuse the confrontations during patrolling in accordable with the existing mechanisms. There are already enough mechanisms in place to manage and reduce faceoffs.
The Border Defence Corporation Agreement prohibited either side from tailing each other’s patrols in areas where there is no common understanding over where the unresolved LAC lay. Hopefully, both the sides will show restraint in order to avoid major confrontations and resolved the incidents in flag meetings. As a part of ongoing defence reforms, China has reorganized its 2.2 million PLA into five commands to crank up the offensive capabilities and establish better command and control structures. The Western Theatre Command handles the entire LAC with India in place of the earlier Chengdu Military Region in east and Lanzhou Region towards North.
Both the countries will also revive the annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ exercise which got derailed last year due to the 73 day Doklam Standoff. An officer mentioned that there will also be an increase in the tactical exercises on the LAC apart from establishing the additional BPM points. Despite the faceoff, both the countries have maintained high operational alertness on the borders with additional units deployed in forward areas.