Soon after disengagement from the Pangong Tso Lake in February during which India generously surrendered its vital ground on Chushul heights for the Chinese vacating the Fingers area, it was clear even to the blind that for the PLA, it was the end of disengagement from friction areas, despite commitment to follow up within 48 hours after the 10th round of talks to address other friction areas.
Fifty days lapsed before the notional 11th round was held. The PLA had drawn curtains. Editor of Global Times Hu Xijin wrote gratuitously that India should be happy with Chinese withdrawal from Pangong Tso. The PLA added it hoped India could ‘cherish the positive trend in de-escalation’ but did not acknowledge the remaining unresolved friction areas. The statement came from the Western Theatre Command, Chengdu, not the usual MoD in Beijing.
State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi continued to harp on ‘rights and wrongs of last year’s crisis’ (blaming India) adding that the boundary dispute which was left over by history was not the whole story of India-China relationship, suggesting that it needed to be decoupled from bilateral relations.
Wang has echoed China’s standard line: both sides are not a threat to each other but an opportunity for development; both should help not undercut each other and intensify cooperation instead of harbouring suspicion. Wang is insisting: “Now that withdrawal in Pangong Tso is over, bilateral ties can resume.”