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LAC standoff | India, China diplomats to meet for next round of LAC talks

In this May 22, 2020 file photo, satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) base in Kongka Pass on LAC.   | Photo Credit: AP

Indian and Chinese diplomats and defence officials are expected to meet for the next round of talks about the LAC standoff and disengagement process on Friday, in the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), sources confirmed. The WMCC, comprising senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was established in 2012 and normally meets just twice a year, is meeting for the second time in two weeks, an indicator of the seriousness of the LAC situation.

Also read: Chinese troops move out of Patrolling Point 15 in eastern Ladakh

“The diplomatic and military officials of both sides will continue their meetings to take forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation as agreed to by the Special Representatives. The next meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC) is expected to take place soon,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, in a statement similar to the one issued by MFA spokesperson Zhao Lijian in Beijing, neither of which had confirmed the exact date.

The 16th round of the WMCC will be led by MEA Joint Secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava and Director General of the Department of Boundary & Oceanic Affairs of the Chinese MFA WU Jianghao. Officials from the Ministries of Defence and Home Affairs, the Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police will join along with their Chinese counterparts.

With the disengagement process in the Galwan area, Hotspring and Gogra point under way, sources said the next round of Corps commander meetings is also expected to take place next week to discuss the next phase of disengagement and de-escalation at several points of the LAC where Chinese troops moved in over the past two months, including the Pangong Tso (lake) Finger areas. The two sides will also discuss a possible timetable for the demobilisation of troops gathered on both sides along the LAC.

Also read: In stand-off, keeping an eye on the nuclear ball

Situation stable and improving: China

Mr. Zhao said the situation at the LAC was “stable and improving”, and proceeding along the lines of the disengagement process agreed to by military commanders on June 6, 22, and 30.

“Following the consensus reached at the commander-level talks, Chinese and Indian border troops have taken effective measures to disengage at the frontline at the Galwan Valley and other areas. The situation along the border is stable and improving…[] Hope India will work together with us to take concrete action and implement the consensus reached and jointly work for de-escalation along the border,” Mr. Zhao said.

The MEA, which also credited the conversation between Special Representatives National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 6 for the process, said the two sides had agreed on the need to “ensure at the earliest, complete disengagement”.

Inaccurate and uninformed comments: MEA

The MEA spokesperson reacted sharply to speculation that the plans for disengagement, including the creation of “buffer zones” along the LAC — which necessitate Indian troops will pull back from their positions — would place India at a disadvantage in the Galwan valley.

“We have also noted that there have been some inaccurate and uninformed comments about the disengagement process and its implications,” said Mr. Srivastava, who pointed to several MEA statements that had rejected the Chinese claims on the Galwan valley area, and said neither side should take any unilateral action to alter the LAC.

(With inputs from Dinakar Peri and Ananth Krishnan)

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 2:52:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lac-standoff-india-china-diplomats-to-meet-for-next-round-of-lac-talks/article32035003.ece

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