ZOOM ROUND TABLE – RECORDED
1. Transgressions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC)/IB in the context of India and China have assumed a form of normalcy with serious interjections bordering on intrusions at regular intervals. 2020 Galwan amongst other areas was a reminder of Depsang in 2013 and Doklam in 2017 and goes back to Sumdorung Chu in 1986-87. That no shot has been fired since 1967 by the two sides despite innumerable standoffs is a credit to soldiers and commanders on the ground on both sides who have exercised utmost restraint, but for how long can this be relied on to prevent a flare up. Sound CBMs which actually have now become Conflict Resolution Mechanisms (CRMs) have played a part. Agreements as the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) have evolved over the years but Galwan is an indicator that these may not be adequate.
2. Given the fact that resolution of India China boundary issue appears unlikely in the near time frame even though strong leaders on both sides are capable of taking decisions of immense strategic importance the timing in terms of geopolitical factors also appears inopportune. Exchange of maps is another idea which has not found favour and unlikely to. There is thus a necessity for brainstorming management of the LAC/IB for recurrence of Galwan in the years ahead for which the expert round table is planned, looking beyond the present crisis.
Format of the Round Table
3. The format of the Round Table is flexible, however keeping in view time available to the participating experts a suggested format is as below [all timings are suggested]-
(a) Opening Remarks by the participants– 3 minutes each.
(b) Questions to be addressed by participants –-3-4 minutes each as follows-
(i) What have been the main reasons for occurrence of transgressions cum trans LAC interventions? What are the possible reasons for the series in May 2020?
(ii) What lessons can be learnt from the resolution [partial so far] of incidents in May 2020?
(iii) What has been efficacy of existing mechanisms for resolution in terms of effectiveness and failure to respond to ground reality?
(iv) What suggestions – diplomatic and military for preventing transgressions given present status of overall India China relations? Can technology provide an answer?
(c) Closing remarks of the participants.