Yet the road to de-escalation is an arduous and hazardous one. 

Even the critics of the Narendra Modi government’s China policy will concede that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar did not return empty handed from Moscow after his meeting with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
It would have been unrealistic to expect any spectacular breakthrough in normalising Sino-Indian bilateral relations. In diplomacy even modest progress is worthy of respect. Let us ignore the fog making diplomatic jargons, India and China on Thursday held frank and constructive (cliché with a capital C) discussion and conceded the standoff was “not in the interest of either side”. Both sides agreed to a five-point plan to ease tensions at the Line of Control. This is modest progress.
What are these five points?
1) Take guidance from a series of consensus of leaders on developing Indo-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes.
2) Troops should continue dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.
3) Abide by all existing agreements and protocol on boundary affairs and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
4) Continue communicating through Special Representatives mechanisms and the working mechanism for consultation and coordination.
5) Expedite work to conclude new confidence building measures (CBMs) to maintain peace and tranquillity.
A joint statement was issued. The two ministers emphasised that the “current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side”.
Yet the road to de-escalation is an arduous and hazardous one. Equally, withdrawal of troops will be even more difficult. On Friday, Foreign Minister Wang said India-China relationship “was at the crossroads”, adding, “but as long as the two sides keep moving in the right direction, there will be no difficulty or challenge that can’t be overcome”.
External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, in his recently published book, The India Way, has a chapter on China. It comprehensively covers all aspects of China’s policies, domestic and foreign and Sino-Indian relations in depth. Having been ambassador to China, he understands the extremely complex, face conscious and complete faith in the rightness of the pursuit of real politic, for which the visionary Jawahlal Nehru had disdain.
Our EAM did allow his Chinese counterpart the comfort of getting the better of him. On the contrary, he made it clear that India would not de-escalate until there was complete and verifiable disengagement all points of the LAC. According to reports, Jaishankar made it clear that the overall relationship will suffer if there is no peace on the border. He blamed China for breaching existing agreements (1993-1996) with their massive build-up in April and
May and transgressions that compelled India to activate its defence movement in Ladakh.
At the moment we have military advantage in vital areas of Ladakh. But for how long? Jaishankar also made it clear that “the border and the future of ties cannot be separated” (page 153 of his book).
Since the days of Deng Xiaoping, China subscribes to the opposite view. Bearing in mind.
Will China raise the military temperature in the coming weeks? It could be tempted to before winter sets in. Secondly, with President Donald Trump busy with the election of 3 November, China might take the initiative in (metaphorically speaking) sabre-rattling. That in my judgement is unlikely. China is isolated, its economy is not doing well and exports are falling.
Some of our military top brass, serving and retired are gung-ho and ready to teach China a lesson. This is highly irresponsible and should be forbidden by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, without delay.
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Two film actresses are in the news these days. The TV channels are having a ball. Surely more serious events are taking place in the world. Let the girls alone.
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I was very distressed to read about Dr Hari Singh’s death in yesterday’s First India. I knew him for many years. He provided enjoyable company. Not only the Jat community, Rajasthan’s political world has lost an energetic, stubborn and bold leader. My sincere condolences to the family.