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LAC standoff | Completing disengagement will require reciprocal actions, says India

Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri meets Major General Ci Guowei, Director of the Office of International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), in Beijing on August 14, 2020.

Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri meets Major General Ci Guowei, Director of the Office of International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), in Beijing on August 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri held talks with China’s top military body, the Central Military Commission (CMC), in Beijing on Friday, amid an acknowledgement from Delhi that completing the stalled disengagement process along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) would require “reciprocal actions” from both sides.

While it is unclear what “actions" the PLA has demanded from India, the Chinese side has so far rebuffed India’s demand for a return to the status quo ante prior to this summer’s tensions that saw multiple transgressions and the Chinese military establishing positions on India’s side of the LAC.

Also read: Galwan was an ‘unfortunate incident’, PLA officers tell Indian side at Corps Commander-level talks

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remains present on India’s side of the LAC on the north bank of Pangong Lake, has continued to obstruct India’s patrols in the Depsang plains, and has not diluted its build-up in several other areas, according to officials.

Five rounds of Corps Commander-level talks have been held so far, while the situation in Depsang was discussed at Major General-level talks on August 8.

On Friday, Mr. Misri met with PLA Major General Ci Guowei, who is director of the CMC’s Office of International Military Cooperation, and “briefed him on India’s stance vis-à-vis the situation on the borders in eastern Ladakh”, according to the Indian Embassy in Beijing. The CMC is responsible for the overall administration of the armed forces, and the Office of International Military Cooperation, one of 15 departments, is responsible for external engagement. The CMC is headed by President Xi Jinping.

Also read: Ladakh face-off | China’s People’s Liberation Army meticulously planned attack in Galwan, says senior government official

This followed Mr. Misri’s meeting on Wednesday with a Communist Party official, Liu Jianchao, who is Deputy Director of the Party’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission. The Embassy similarly said the ambassador had "briefed him on India’s stance vis-à-vis the situation on the borders in eastern Ladakh”.

The outreach to the CMC and the Party’s foreign affairs commission — the Foreign Ministry in Beijing is the usual interlocutor for foreign diplomats — came against the backdrop of the five rounds of Corps Commander-level talks failing to break the stalemate, with the MEA saying on Friday further meetings were likely in the near future to take forward a “complex” process.

Also read: Analysis | With China, India will have to be 'atmanirbhar'

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said both sides "have agreement on broad principles of disengagement and based on it, some progress had been earlier made.”

“I must add that translating these principles on ground is a complex process that requires re-deployment of troops by each side towards their regular posts on their respective sides of the LAC,” he said. “It is natural that this can be done only through mutually agreed reciprocal actions. While we would like the ongoing disengagement process to be completed at the earliest, it is important to bear in mind that achieving this requires agreed actions by both sides. We therefore expect that the Chinese side to sincerely work with us towards the objective of complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas as agreed by the Special Representatives.”

"This is also necessary and essential,” Mr. Srivastava said, "in the context of overall development of our bilateral relationship.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 6:15:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lac-standoff-completing-disengagement-will-require-reciprocal-actions-says-india/article32357666.ece

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