More punitive steps planned against China

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/6/2020 11:44:14 AM

NEW DELHI, Aug 5: India is planning more punitive steps with larger strategic implications to mount pressure on China to vacate the territories it has intruded into, even as New Delhi negotiates with Beijing over troop disengagement and de-escalation in Ladakh.
The measures were discussed in an all-powerful China Study Group (CSG) headed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to review the discussions held on Sunday between the Lt General level commanders at Moldo. Those in the group are the Cabinet Secretary, foreign secretary, Defence Secretary and the Service chiefs. They approved the next steps to be taken along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, besides other steps to pressurise Beijing.
So far, India has implemented a raft of measures such as banning 59 Chinese apps, including the popular TikTok video sharing service, putting embargoes on imports of Chinese colour televisions and restricting Chinese investments in areas such as roads and telecom.
Also, the Chinese language has been removed from the curriculum of schools, and the government is set to review the status of Confucius Institutes, which aim to popularize the language in India.
Sources say the new measures that could be implemented include “some economic, and some others," and one of the steps could be the inclusion of Australia in the Malabar exercises —naval manoeuvres conducted between India and the US since 1992, which Japan joined in 2015. Australia’s inclusion will be seen by China as “militarizing" the “Quad", as the group of four countries is loosely known.
With China refusing to move out of Indian territory it intruded into in May, India is expected to unveil measures aimed at increasing the pressure on Beijing, the sources said. “The Chinese seem unwilling to restore status quo ante. There has been some disengagement in the Galwan Valley and Hot Springs area. Pangong Tso continues to remain a problem," the sources said.
At the Moldo meeting, the Chinese stance reflected the official line taken recently by the Chinese ambassador that their troops are positioned on their side of the LAC. For restoration of the status quo ante, India has put forth three conditions, the sources said.
So far, the two sides have set up a buffer zone separating the troops at Galwan Valley and Hot Springs, but disengagement agreed to at Gogra, a third point, has not happened. There is also no change in the positions occupied by Chinese troops at Finger 4, one of eight mountain spurs jutting into Pangong Tso.
The Chinese troops continue to retain their positions at the heights, while some of the soldiers deployed at the foot of the mountain have moved back to Finger 5. India holds up to Finger 4 and used to patrol up to Finger 8, given that New Delhi perceives the Line of Actual Control border to be at Finger 8. China held up to Finger 8 till April, but has advanced to Finger 4 and is refusing to budge.



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