India, China hold ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks

Both sides will attempt to work out a phased disengagement and de-escalation plan to end the nine-month-long standoff in Eastern Ladakh

Updated - January 24, 2021 09:23 pm IST

Published - January 24, 2021 01:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

An IAF fighter jet flies over the Ladakh region amid India-China stand off, in Leh on January 15, 2021.

An IAF fighter jet flies over the Ladakh region amid India-China stand off, in Leh on January 15, 2021.

The ninth round of Corps Commander talks between India and China are underway on Sunday at Moldo border personnel meeting point on the Chinese side opposite Chushul in Eastern Ladakh as both sides attempt to work out a phased disengagement and de-escalation plan to end the nine-month-long standoff.

A defence official said that the talks began at Moldo at 10 a.m.

Also read: India, China continue to maintain close communication: MEA

Officials said a broad disengagement plan had been worked out but had been held up over some specific issues. Both sides would attempt to work that out at the talks, a second official said. This was the reason for the delay in scheduling the ninth round of talks. The eighth round of talks were held on November 6 last year.

It has to be a comprehensive disengagement plan beginning with all friction point in Eastern Ladakh and then de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control, the second official said referring to China’s insistence for discussions centred around South Bank of Pangong Tso first and take up other friction areas later.

Also read: China defends new village in Arunachal Pradesh amid border construction push

The Indian delegation is led by Lt. Gen. PGK Menon, 14 Corps Commander, and includes Naveen Srivastava, Additional Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs. A MEA representative has been part of the last few rounds of talks as well. The delegation also includes two Major Generals and two Brigadiers and Deepam Seth, Inspector General North West Frontier from Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

Officials have stated on several occasions that any withdrawal will be phased and will take time, given the large number of troops and equipment deployed by both sides and also verify compliance on the ground by the Chinese side at each step.

Also read: Opinion |  Interpreting the India-China conversations

The talks are guided by the five-point-plan for disengagement and de-escalation agreed between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on September 10 last year. After the sixth round of talks on September 21, 2020 both sides for the first time issued a joint statement in which they agreed to “stop sending more troops to the frontline” and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground.”

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