NATIONAL

LAC disengagement calls for reciprocal actions, says MEA

Dialogue on:Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri with Major General Ci Guowei from China in Beijing on Friday.PTIPTI

Dialogue on:Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri with Major General Ci Guowei from China in Beijing on Friday.PTIPTI  

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 People’s Liberation Army (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.

The 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 Central Military Commission’s (CMC) 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.

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 Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) saying on Friday further meetings were likely in the near future to take forward a “complex” process.

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.

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