Russia to attempt to mediate India-China border dispute

Foreign ministers from Russia, China and India are set to hold trilateral talks over videoconference today. While the three countries

Indian army vehicles drive along the Ladakh border last week

Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign ministers from Russia, China and India are set to hold trilateral talks over videoconference today.

While the three countries are likely to devote considerable attention to COVID-19, the crux of the discussions will focus on easing tensions between India and China after a June 15 border clash left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

India and China both claim the Ladakh region along their largely undemarcated 3,500 km border; the region is located on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)—the present de facto border. The exchange came less than two weeks after China and India agreed refrain from action “escalating” tensions on their shared boundary.

The June 15 incident was not the first time that China and India have clashed over the Ladakh region, but the considerable casualties and India’s decision to change its rules of engagement to allow troops stationed on the border to use firearms in extraordinary circumstances point to a possible escalation of the standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.

From a diplomatic standpoint, the exchange has effectively erased the progress made during the previous round of talks and presents Russia with a renewed opportunity to mediate a more lasting settlement to the longstanding dispute.

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