Overview – India Strategic Review

In February, India and China agreed to a disengagement plan to resolve the stand-off in Eastern Ladakh. A fortnight later, there was an agreement at the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMOs) level to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) with effect from the midnight of February 24/25. While both developments were largely welcomed, scepticism persists. China and Pakistan are revisionist states with a tactical approach to such agreements, which does not inspire confidence. China’s actions in Eastern Ladakh have negated a series of agreements pertaining to border management and confidence-building measures that have been put in place since 1993. Delhi has ample experience of agreements being undermined by Pakistan, both in letter and spirit, the Lahore peace process being the most glaring example. Moreover, the multiple, military-centric power structures in Pakistan tend to dilute the trust factor.

What this implies is that the security dynamics around Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will remain under sustained two-front pressure. As the Indian Army chief General M. M. Naravane stated after the start of the disengagement process, “until that trust deficit is removed, we will be wary about the developments there”.

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