China and India held commander-level talks between the militaries of the two sides on June 22.
The commanders had an in-depth exchange of views on border control and agreed to take necessary measures to maintain dialogue, promote peace and tranquility and cool down the situation at the border area in the Galwan Valley. The talks showed that both China and India hoped to manage differences and de-escalate tensions through peaceful negotiations.
On the night of June 15, the Indian troops crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border area, provoking and attacking Chinese soldiers who went to negotiate at the scene, resulting in a fierce physical confrontation and casualties. The clash broke the more than four decades of tranquility along the LAC, and has turned the peaceful valley in the Western Himalayas into a scuffle ground.
Frankly speaking, as two nuclear powers, both countries maintained restraint during the clash. Soldiers from both sides used medieval weapons such as iron rods and stones in the conflict. Although no shots were fired, Indian officials said that 23 soldiers died in the clash. China has not released details of the casualties on its side in an attempt to avoid any judgment of winners or losers and prevent any escalation of tensions.
India has to bear the blame for the latest tragedy because its troops intruded into the LAC to launch attacks on Chinese personnel. Their provocations have seriously violated basic international norms and the agreement reached by the two countries. The Chinese Government has demanded that India thoroughly investigate the incident, discipline its frontier troops, punish those responsible for the incident and stop all kinds of provocative activities immediately to ensure no such incidents occur again.
In spite of mutual restraints, there still lies a risk that such clashes and brawls may escalate into military conflicts in the future. Much more than that, in recent years, some Indian politicians are fanning nationalistic fervor among the public for their own political gains. Some Indians perceived that they have more to gain in the U.S.-orchestrated Indo-Pacific strategies aiming to curb China.
Eased tension is beneficial to both China and India. As two of the strongest economies in Asia and two emerging countries with rising global influence, Beijing and New Delhi should coexist peacefully, otherwise, the "Asia Century" will never turn into reality.
China is now India's second-largest trading partner, it dropped from first place only last year. China has resolved its border disputes with all its neighbors on land, except India and Bhutan. It is definitely in China's primary interest to settle its boundary disputes with India in a peaceful way.
Nevertheless, India has taken an increasingly aggressive stance against China since the Doklam standoff in 2017 and it has toughened its position along the disputed border areas with its neighbors, including China, Pakistan and Nepal. In the case of the border with China, in recent years India has enlarged the size of its military forces, upgraded military equipment and beefed up infrastructure construction in disputed areas.
China is a peace-loving country. However, Chin's good will and patience cannot be regarded as signs of weakness. India should not underestimate Chinese people's determination to safeguard its national security and territorial integrity. Moreover, can India really thrive with confrontations with China along a more than 2,000-kilometer border line?
(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)