Stalemate in India-China talks to end eastern Ladakh standoff continues

While India pushed for a comprehensive disengagement, China’s refusal to discuss Demchok and Depsang had stalled all further progress in talks

Updated - July 20, 2022 11:31 pm IST

Published - July 18, 2022 11:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India and China have agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels

India and China have agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels | Photo Credit: AFP

The stalemate in the talks between India and China to end the standoff in Eastern Ladakh continues with no breakthrough in the 16th round of Corps Commander talks held on July 17.

In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the “security and stability” on the ground in the Western Sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a joint statement issued late on July 18 said.

“The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” the statement said. The talks were held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side and lasted for over 12 hours.

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Building on the progress made at the last meeting on March 11, 2022, the two sides continued discussions for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in a “constructive and forward looking manner.”

Stating that they had a frank and in-depth exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the State leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, the statement added: “The two sides reaffirmed that the resolution of remaining issues would help in restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.”

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Demchok and Depsang

While an agreement for disengagement from Patrolling Point-15 was close by in the last few rounds of talks, China’s refusal to discuss other friction areas, Demchok and Depsang, maintaining that they are not part of the current stand-off, has stalled any progress. India has been insisting on comprehensive disengagement and de-escalation to end the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Since the stand-off began in May 2020, the two sides have so far held 15 rounds of senior military commander 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.

Shortly after the 15th round of talks in March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had visited India.

Also, 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 along LAC.

Over 50,000 troops and heavy equipment continue to be deployed on both sides, close to the LAC. In the last two years, China has also undertaken massive construction of infrastructure, habitat and support structures to maintain the troops close to the LAC, altering the ground status.

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