5 May 2022 marks the second anniversary of the current crisis in Eastern Ladakh, the deadliest such since 1962 and follows a series of such crises since 2013. On 5 May 2020, the first clash occurred resulting in injuries to several soldiers on both sides. This was followed by another major clash on the night of 15-16 June 2020 resulting in 20 Indian and four PLA soldiers killed in action. While the Chinese views over the current situation are ambiguous, the Indian side believes that the crisis was due to a deliberate action by the Chinese side. Despite several rounds of talks at the national, diplomatic and military levels over the past two years, the current crisis shows no sign of resolution. Existing Confidence Building Mechanisms have neither been able to prevent nor aid in resolving the current crisis. The panel discussion looks at the underlying causes for the crisis, developments over the past two years, the Chinese perspective and way ahead.
About the Speakers
Amb. Gautam Bambawale is currently Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Symbiosis International University, Pune. He was a member of the Indian Foreign Service from 1984 to 2018. He was India’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Pakistan and China. Bambawale was stationed in Washington DC in 2004-07 during the Indo-US nuclear deal which transformed ties between the two countries. He was India’s first Consul General in Guangzhou (China) 2007-09. He was Director of the Indian Cultural Centre, Berlin 1994-98. Ambassador Bambawale worked in the Prime Minister’s Office 2002-04. At the Ministry of External Affairs, he was Joint Secretary for East Asia from 2009-2014. Bambawale has dealt with China for 15 years of his 34-year diplomatic career. He is an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies.
Lt. Gen. DS Hooda (Retd.) PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM** was commissioned into the 4th Battalion of the 4th Gorkha Rifles on 15 Dec 1976. During his career spanning forty years, he has gained vast experience of counterinsurgency, both in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East Region. He commanded an Infantry Brigade in Jammu & Kashmir, a Division in Manipur and the 16 Corps at Nagrota. Lt Gen DS Hooda took over the command of the Northern Army on 01 Jun 2014 and retired from there in December 2016. He was responsible for handling the disputed and troubled borders with Pakistan and China as well as counterinsurgency operations in J&K. He is co-founder of the Council for Strategic and Defence Research, New Delhi and a Senior Fellow at the Delhi Policy Group.
Senior Colonel Zhou Bo (Retired) started his military service in 1979. He served successively as staff officer, Deputy Director General of West Asia and Africa Bureau and then Deputy Director General of General Planning Bureau of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense of China, Chinese Defense Attaché to the Republic of Namibia and Director of the Centre for Security Cooperation in the Office for International Military Cooperation, Ministry of National Defense. He is now a senior fellow of Center for International Security and Strategy Tsinghua University and a China Forum expert. He has published more than 100 essays and opinions in English which include Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, etc., and had interviews with BBC，Time, Euronews, NHK, Russia Today, Al Jazeera, CGTN etc. He spoke as a PLA delegate at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore and at the Munich Security conference. He is supervisor to foreign post-graduate officers at PLA National Defense University.
Mr. Sushant Singh is Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research and co-founder of The India Cable. He was the Henry Hart Rice Lecturer in South Asian studies at Yale University in 2019 and 2021. He served as the Deputy Editor of The Indian Express till August 2020, where he won the Ramnath Goenka award for excellence in journalism in 2017 and 2018. A columnist for Deccan Herald and The Caravan, and regular contributor to Foreign Policy and The Hindu, he served in the Indian Army for two decades. He is the author of Mission Overseas: Daring Operations by the Indian Military and co-author of Note by Note: The India Story 1947-2017.
About the Chair
Amb. Ashok K. Kantha joined as Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi on 31st March 2017. A career diplomat, Kantha was Ambassador of India to China until January 2016. Prior to this, he was Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi with responsibility for about 65 countries in India’s extended neighbourhood. His previous assignments include High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Consul General in Hong Kong, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu (Nepal), and Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier, Kantha served in different capacities at Indian Missions in Singapore, China and the USA, and at headquarters in New Delhi.
About the Discussant
Dr. Rityusha Mani Tiwary teaches in the Department of Political Science, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. She holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The current focus of her research includes unpacking the interplay of power and hegemony in East Asia and China’s role in shaping regionalism therein. She is interested in the questions of leadership, hegemony and power in South Asia and East Asia with an emphasis on strategic thought in China and India. Her other research interests include studying gender, peace and conflict. She has been the Assistant Editor of China Report: A Journal of East Asian Studies since 2016.
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