Ladakh standoff | India, China prepare for 12th round of military commander talks

Army convoy carrying reinforcements and supplies, drive towards Leh, in Gagangir. File   | Photo Credit: Yawar Nazir

Agreeing on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, India and China on Friday agreed to hold the 12th round of military commander talks at an early date to achieve “complete disengagement” from “all the friction points” along the LAC in the Western Sector.

This was agreed at the 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China Border Affairs held virtually.

Also read: LAC standoff | India, China had candid discussions: MEA

“In this regard, the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points so as to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity to enable progress in the bilateral relations,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

They also agreed that in the interim, the two sides will continue to ensure stability on the ground and “prevent any untoward incident”, the MEA said in a reference to the violent clash at Galwan valley last June.

Also read: LAC standoff | 10 patrolling points in eastern Ladakh blocked by Chinese People’s Liberation Army, says senior official

The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary, East Asia, from the MEA, while the Chinese delegation was led by the Director General of the Boundary and Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chinese statement

A statement by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that the two sides agreed to “consolidate the achievements” of the disengagement of border troops from both sides and “properly resolve the remaining issues” along the western section of the Sino-Indian border.

“The two sides will continue to work to promote further de-escalation of the border situation, avoid any recurrence of the situation on the ground and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area,” the MFA statement said. The two sides agreed to maintain high-level diplomatic communication to actively prepare for the 12th round of talks “at the level of military chiefs, and to determine the specific timing and arrangements through the border hotline as soon as possible,” it added.

Since the beginning of stand-off in early May 2020, after ingress by Chinese troops into the Indian side of the LAC at several locations, the two sides have been holding alternate WMCC and Corps Commander level talks to resolve the stand-off and restore the status quo of pre-April positions. Foreign Ministers of the two countries held a meeting in Moscow in September 2020 during which they had agreed on a framework for the resolution.

The two sides have so far held 11 rounds of military talks for disengagement and de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. While disengagement has been completed at Pangong Tso, friction points remain at Gogra and Hotsprings as well as in Demchok and the strategic Depsang valley. However, there has been no progress in the last few rounds of talks for disengagement at Gogra and Hot Springs.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:44:28 AM |

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