Delhi asks its envoy to open talks with China’s top military body

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Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: June 27, 2020 4:04:18 am

Sources in New Delhi said efforts are being made to reach out to Xu, who is said to be keeping a close eye on the situation on the LAC.

After sending Beijing a clear message that continuation of the current situation on the Line of Actual Control will “only vitiate the atmosphere for the development” of relations between the two countries, New Delhi has asked Vikram Misri, Indian ambassador to China, to speak to the top members of the Chinese Central Military Commission to resolve the border crisis.

The Indian Express has learnt that South Block feels that diplomatic and military positions have hardened on both sides. It, therefore, wants to engage with the top echelon of the CMC.

The CMC is the apex military body of China and has President Xi Jinping as its head and six other members. The CMC of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are actually two separate bodies, with the same 7-member leadership.

Both commissions are identical in membership —actually forming one institution under two different names — to fit in both government and party systems. In reality, the command and control of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) is with the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee – the party CMC.

Under Xi, it has two Vice-Chairmen: Xu Qiliang and Zhang Youxia. The other four members are Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, General Li Zuocheng, Admiral Miao Hua and General Zhang Shengmin.

When Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Beijing in October last year – it was just before Xi’s visit to Mahabalipuram for the informal summit — he met Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang and briefed him on the significance of India ending the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

Xu is considered extremely close to Xi. He worked with Xi in the capital of Fujian province in the early 1990s, winning Xi’s political trust.

Sources in New Delhi said efforts are being made to reach out to Xu, who is said to be keeping a close eye on the situation on the LAC. Indian diplomats and the defence advisor in Beijing will be reaching out to him and other key members of the CMC.

Sources said that after the meeting of the working mechanism of diplomats on June 24 and Army Corps Commanders on June 23, it became clear that the talks at these levels were not going to be enough to resolve the situation. Moreover, each side, in public statements, has put the onus on the other.

Sources said a “political intervention at the top is the need of the hour” to break the deadlock — and one needs to engage with leaders who can take decisions at the highest level.

The outreach will also be to the other members of the CMC, including Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe.

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