Daily Memo: Frozen Deployments in the Himalayas, Lukashenko’s Secret Inauguration

There were a couple of glaring omissions from the joint Sino-Indian statement.

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China and India freeze troop deployments. Senior Chinese and Indian military officials agreed to refrain from sending additional troops to their contested border between Ladakh and Tibet, according to a joint statement released Tuesday. This can’t hurt the prospects of preventing additional violence between China and India in the high Himalayas, but neither will it do much to restore equilibrium between the two sides. The unforgiving geography of the disputed areas creates high-level stability by keeping the probability for escalation to an all-out conventional war extremely low. But it also fosters low-level instability by putting a premium on controlling key chokepoints and by making any attempts at major infrastructure development – which could diminish the geographic constraints on mass mobilization – extremely alarming to either side. In this light, there were a couple of glaring omissions from the joint statement. One is any specific suggestion of restoring the status quo from before this summer’s jostling began, leaving China comfortably in control of a handful of strategically advantageous positions that India will want vacated, at minimum. The other is the lack of any mention of agreement on refraining from infrastructure development. Until the two sides basically agree to measures that would […]

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