India and China on Friday agreed to hold another round of talks between senior military commanders to take up remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and “create conditions for the restoration of normalcy” in ties.
This followed the 25th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held virtually by the two sides.
The Indian delegation was led by Shilpak Ambule, Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), while the Chinese side was led by Hong Liang, Director-General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
‘At an early date’
Both sides reviewed the LAC situation and welcomed the latest disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, the MEA said. Following the fifth disengagement, differences remain in two areas, Demchok and Depsang.
The MEA said both sides “agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC at the earliest so as to create conditions for restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations.” To that end, they agreed to hold the 17th round of talks between senior military commanders “at an early date”.
A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry similarly welcomed the recent disengagement, and said both sides were “willing to take measures to further ease the border situation and promote the border situation from emergency response to normalised control.” It added that they agreed to hold the next military talks as soon as possible.
India has maintained that the currently strained ties cannot return fully to normalcy without peace on the boundary. Full disengagement will have to be followed by de-escalation and de-induction of the 1,00,000 troops from both sides still deployed in forward areas.