India, China to continue military talks on LAC disengagement

Indian and Chinese troops and tanks disengage from the banks Pangong lake area in Eastern Ladakh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

India and China will hold another round of talks between military commanders “as soon as possible” to continue the disengagement process in friction areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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

This was agreed to on Friday as officials from both sides virtually held the 21st meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC).

The talks led by senior Foreign Ministry officials, along with the parallel military-level talks between Corps Commanders, have been the two key channels for both sides to take forward disengagement, with Friday’s meeting of a mechanism that has in the past convened only twice a year, the seventh held since the June 15 clash in the Galwan Valley last year.

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

The two sides reviewed the situation along the LAC and “had in-depth discussions on the remaining issues”, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, adding that both “agreed that the completion of the disengagement in North and South Bank of the Pangong lake provided a good basis for the two sides to work towards early resolution of these remaining issues.”

A 11th round of talks between Corps Commanders would be held “as soon as possible to further ease the situation on the ground and jointly safeguard the hard-won peace and stability in the border areas”, the statement said.

At the 10th round on February 20, both commanders noted “the disengagement in the Pangong lake area was a significant step forward and it provided a good basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC”.

Since the meeting, there has been no official word so far on the progress of disengagement in the Gogra-Hot Springs area and in Demchok.

Long-running tensions

There are also long-running tensions involving the blocking of patrols in the Depsang plains, which Indian officials have said pre-dated the current crisis.

The MEA said both sides agreed to “continue their dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points at the earliest”, which “would enable two sides to look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Also read: India-China LAC standoff | India being tested, will meet national security challenge: Jaishankar

Both also agreed that “in the interim, two sides should continue to maintain stability at ground level and prevent any untoward incident.”

A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry said both sides “agreed to continue dialogue and communication via diplomatic and military channels” and to hold the 11th round of the commanders meeting “at an early time to further de-escalate the situation on the ground, and jointly maintain the hard-earned peace and tranquility in the border areas.”

“The two sides appraised the disengagement of the front-line troops of both countries in the Pangong Lake area, and had candid and in-depth exchange of views on promoting the resolution of other issues in the China-India border areas,” the statement said, adding that the two countries agreed “to stabilise and control the border situation and avoid a relapse”, referring to last year’s tensions.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 6:37:27 AM |

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