India, China talks end in impasse

October 12, 2021 12:00 am | Updated 06:24 am IST

“It was therefore necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the western sector,” the statement said.

This would also be in accord with the guidance provided by the two Foreign Ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest, the statement said. Such resolution of the remaining areas would facilitate progress in the bilateral relations, it asserted.

“It is our expectation that the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols,” it noted.

PLA statement

The Chinese military’s statement on Sunday night came not from the Defence Ministry, as was the case in some of the earlier rounds, but from the PLA’s Western Theatre Command in Chengdu, which has in recent rounds appeared to have taken over the responsibility for putting out statements on the LAC situation. This is seen by some observers as Beijing placing less importance on the slow moving negotiations.

Since the stand-off began in May last year, both sides have held a series of talks at different levels- political, diplomatic and military, and as part of agreements reached, have undertaken disengagement from both sides of Pangong Tso in February and the Patrolling Point 17 at Gogra area in August. The other friction areas that remain are Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang.

Officials remarked that while an agreement for resolving Hot Springs was within reach, Demchok and Depsang were legacy issues and tough to resolve. In addition to the overall disengagement and de-escalation, the two sides had also agreed to work out new protocols for patrolling to ensure such instances do not occur again.

The PLA statement did not suggest any agreement reached on either disengaging or on new protocols.

Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson for the Western Theatre Command, stated, “China had made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated its sincerity in order to maintain the overall situation of the relations between the two militaries. However, India still insisted on the unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which made the negotiations more difficult,” he said. “China’s resolve to safeguard national sovereignty is firm”. ”

He called on India “to not misjudge the situation” and to “cherish the hard-won situation in the China-India border areas and abide by relevant agreements and consensus between the two countries and the two militaries.”

The PLA’s comment on India making “unrealistic demands” stands in stark contrast to New Delhi’s view on the LAC crisis, which began in April 2020 when the PLA massed thousands of troops along the LAC, carried out multiple transgressions in eastern Ladakh, and disregarded the many previously agreed upon border agreements aimed at keeping the peace.

While negotiations have led to disengagement in some of the areas, thousands of PLA troops remain in forward areas.

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