China said on Wednesday it had “reached agreement” with India on the ongoing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a day after India announced troops from both sides had begun a “partial disengagement” from some of the stand-off points.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said both sides had agreed to handle the situation “properly” and “in line with the agreement” to ease the situation, but did not provide specific details on some of the stand-off points, such as Pangong Lake, where Chinese troops are still present on India’s side of the LAC.
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Also on Wednesday, India and China held Major General-level talks to discuss further de-escalation at several standoff points in Eastern Ladakh including Patrolling Point (PP) 14, following a broad accord reached on Saturday in talks held at the Corps Commander-level. As per the agreement, a series of ground-level talks would be held over the next 10 days, with four other points of conflict identified at PP15, PP17, Chushul and the north bank of Pangong Lake.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not provide specifics on the sites of conflict. It only referred to the western section, which was the focus of Saturday’s talks, although a stand-off is also continuing at Naku La in Sikkim in the eastern section.
“Through diplomatic and military channels, China and India have recently had effective communication and reached agreement on properly handling the situation in the west section of the China-India boundary,” spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “At present, the two sides are taking actions in line with the agreement to ameliorate the border situation.”
Government officials said a partial disengagement had happened at some points in the Galwan area and at Hot Springs, but there was no change at Pangong Lake.
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The Global Times , a Communist Party-run newspaper, reported on Tuesday that the ongoing dispute “will not escalate into a conflict” but added “due to the complexity of the situation, the military stand-off could continue for a little longer”.
The military-level talks showed “both sides do not want to escalate,” Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was quoted as having said.
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“It showed that China and India remain determined to peacefully resolve border issues,” Mr. Qian Feng said. “That being said, the ongoing stand-off is not likely to end immediately, as concrete issues must still be resolved.”
The Indian delegation at Wednesday’s military-level talks was led by the General Officer Commanding, 3 Corps based in Karu.
Last Saturday, the two sides held talks at the level of Corps Commanders on the Chinese side at Moldo opposite Chushul, where the two sides agreed to partial pullout of troops and equipment from some of the stand-off areas in Galwan.
The talks on Wednesday is the first of several at the rank of Colonel, Brigadier and Major General.
Finger 4 area in Pangong Lake remains a major area of contention where Chinese troops had taken position in Indian territory and that is expected to be discussed at the Corps Commander level at a later stage, officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.