Staggered patrols, meetings, new drills lower Sino-Indian border tensions

Modi, Xi met in Wuhan in April 2018. (File)

Tensions on the Sino-Indian border, which snowballed into a crisis at Doklam in 2017, have come down dramatically after the informal summit between the leaders of the two countries at Wuhan in April 2018. The new rules of engagement between the two sides, following the “strategic guidance” provided to the two militaries by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Wuhan summit, have meant that face-offs between soldiers on both sides of the disputed boundary have reduced significantly.

Top government officials told The Indian Express that even though minor differences still remain, particularly in eastern Ladakh near the strategic Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road, “50 per cent of the friction areas between the two militaries on the contentious border have been reduced”. The changes were effectively felt on the ground by August-September last year, officials said.

The new rules of engagement include changes in drills and procedures of patrolling by the two sides and control of aggressive behaviour, besides increased number of meetings between the local commanders on the disputed border. These changes have been specific to each area, depending on the peculiarities of each place on the boundary, and were done after mutual discussions and agreements between the two militaries at the local level.

“The change has happened because some kind of new rules of engagement have been…

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