The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary– Mar 28, 2022; Day 257
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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Standoff a stalemate or deadlock between two equally matched opponents in a dispute or conflict
Logjam Any stoppage attributable to unusual activity
Multilateral Having many parts or sides
Drop in Visit informally and spontaneously
Suffice Be sufficient
Standstill A situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible
Precept a general rule that helps you to decide how you should behave in particular circumstances
Outreach The act of reaching out
At odds In disagreement
Demobilisation Act of changing from a war basis to a peace basis including disbanding or discharging troops
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Talking and listening: On Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s India visit

India and China will find it difficult to simply pick up the threads of their conversation

Brief as it was, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Delhi on Friday appears to have left behind more questions than answers on its purpose. The visit was a first by a senior Chinese official since the military standoff (a stalemate or deadlock between two equally matched opponents in a dispute or conflict) along the LAC began in April 2020. Since then, despite 15 rounds of border commander talks and eight rounds of meetings of the special Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), friction areas remain — including Patrol Point (PP) 15, Demchok and Depsang — where troops have been amassed on both sides. However, it appeared that during his meetings, separately with NSA Ajit Doval, followed by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Mr. Wang proposed no new mechanism or formulation to break the logjam (Any stoppage attributable to unusual activity) in those talks, as had been the case earlier. Instead, the Chinese side only repeated that India must put the differences on the border issue “in the proper place in bilateral relations”, and revive bilateral talks on all issues. The suggestion was part of a three-step formula, according to a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement that included taking a long-term, ‘civilisational’ view of India-China ties, seeing each others’ development as a “win-win” and cooperating at the multilateral (Having many parts or sides) sphere. The last point was a reference to China’s turn to host the BRICS summit later this year, which Mr. Wang hoped Prime Minister Modi would attend, and India’s turn to host the SCO and G-20 summits next year, where Chinese President Xi Jinping would be among the invitees.

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However, neither Mr. Wang nor his hosts in the Government answered why, if his message did not differ from the past, he was received in Delhi at all. That he was merely in the region — visiting Pakistan for an OIC conference; Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban ahead of another conference in Beijing, and Nepal to further bilateral cooperation and infrastructure projects — and decided to “drop in” (Visit informally and spontaneously) does not seem to suffice (Be sufficient) as a reason, when bilateral ties remain at a standstill (A situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible). Nor does it explain why the Modi government, which has consistently said it would only hold bilateral talks about resolving the border standoff, departed from this precept (a general rule that helps you to decide how you should behave in particular circumstances) to discuss bilateral and international issues. Neither side announced Mr. Wang’s arrival until the first meetings on Friday, indicating that there is something more behind the scenes. It is also possible that his outreach (The act of reaching out) stems from a desire to compare notes on Ukraine, where India and China find themselves at odds (In disagreement) with the western sanctions regime that threatens to isolate Russia and split global transactions into a “dollar vs non-dollar” system, while also finding themselves not entirely comfortable with Mr. Putin’s actions. Regardless of any common understanding on other issues, however, it is clear that New Delhi and Beijing cannot simply pick up the threads of their conversation until there is a full understanding of events since April 2020, and demobilisation (Act of changing from a war basis to a peace basis including disbanding or discharging troops) by the PLA, followed by the disengagement of troops, is completed.

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