India, China to hold 19th Corps Commander talks on August 14

The 18th round of Corps Commander talks were held at the Chushul Moldo meeting point on the Chinese side on April 23 just ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Defence Ministers meeting.

Updated - August 13, 2023 04:10 pm IST

Published - August 13, 2023 11:30 am IST - NEW DELHI

 Lt. Gen. Rashim Bali. File

 Lt. Gen. Rashim Bali. File | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

India and China are set to hold the 19th round of Corps Commander talks on August 14 at Chushul as part of ongoing efforts to resolve the standoff in eastern Ladakh, defence sources confirmed. The talks come less than a month before the G20 leaders summit for which expectations are running high that Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend in person.

“The Indian stance has been consistent, i.e. restoration of status quo ante as on April 2020 and the focus would be on disengagement from Depsang and Demchok. The above entails restoration of patrolling rights till the traditional patrolling points,” a defence source said.

Like in the earlier round, the Indian side for the talks will be led by Lt. Gen. Rashim Bali, the Leh-based 14 Corps Commander.

The 18th round of Corps Commander talks were held at the Chushul Moldo meeting point on the Chinese side on April 23 just ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Defence Ministers meeting.

Since the Corps Commander level talks in 2020, the two sides have so far undertaken disengagement from five friction points – from Galwan after the violent clash in June 2020, from the North and South Banks of Pangong Tso in February 2021, from Patrolling Point (PP) 17 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area in August and PP15 in early November.

On Depsang Plains and Demchok, there are fundamental disagreements as India maintains that they are the two additional friction points that still remain while China has refused to accept it, terming them as legacy issues predating the 2020 standoff.

On several occasions, Army Chief Gen. Manoj Pande had termed the situation along the LAC as “stable but unpredictable” while stating that five out of the seven friction points have been resolved and focus is now on the remaining two points.

Ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Xi are scheduled to attend the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on August 22-24. While there has been no confirmation of a bilateral meeting, there has been no denial either. The two leaders have not had formal bilateral talks since November 2019, when they meet on the sidelines of a BRICS Summit in Brazil, but they did briefly exchange words when Mr. Modi approached Mr. Xi at a dinner at the G-20 Summit in Bali in November 2022.

While India has maintained that ties cannot go back to normal till the standoff is resolved, with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar describing ties as “abnormal”, Chinese officials have sought to assert that ties are returning to the normal track and have called India to keep the border in an “appropriate” position.

Last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in Johannesburg and with Mr. Jaishankar in Jakarta.

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