India and China are scheduled to hold the 16th round of Corps Commander talks on July 17 on the Chinese side at Moldo as part of efforts to take forward the stalled process of disengagement and de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. The talks are scheduled on Sunday around 10 a.m. on the Chinese side, an official source said.
In addition to the focus on disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, the effort would also be to discuss disengagement from Demchok and Depsang, which have been the sticking points in the last few rounds of talks.
Since the stand-off began in May 2020, the two sides have so far held 15 rounds of talks with disengagement undertaken from both sides of Pangong Tso in February 2021, and from PP 17 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area in August, in addition to Galwan in 2020 after the violent clash. The 15th round of Corps Commander talks took place on March 11, 2022. In addition, the two sides held talks at the political and diplomatic levels.
Since the last round of talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has visited India in March while he and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar met last week on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bali, where they discussed the situation with regard to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India has been insisting on comprehensive disengagement and de-escalation of the situation in eastern Ladakh, while China has been reluctant to discuss Depsang and Demchok, maintaining that they are not a part of the current stand-off, officials have stated. Due to this, the 13th round of talks ended acrimoniously with both sides issuing strong statements and accusing the other.
Over 50,000 troops and heavy equipment continue to be deployed on both sides close to the LAC for the second winter in very high altitude areas.
China has also undertaken massive construction of infrastructure, habitat and support structures to maintain the troops close to the LAC, altering the ground status.
In May, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi said the situation on the LAC is stable but in a state of “heightened alert”, and to ensure that irritants do not turn into violent situations the two sides have opened up various channels of communication at the lower level. He added, “We have regular hotline exchanges and we have stopped the system of body push, etc., that was there earlier and no physical contact is being ensured. Wherever there is an irritant, we immediately call for talks at the battalion and brigade level, sit down together and come to an amicable solution.”