LEH: Days after the 19th corps commander level talks, the Indian and Chinese armies remain engaged in ‘marathon discussions’ to resolve the long pending issues in Demchok and Depsang plains.
In the follow up to the 19th round of Corps Commander-level meeting held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side of the LAC on August 13 and 14, the Major General-level talks at Daulat Beg Oldie and Chushul have been going on from past three days, official sources informed, adding that these talks are a positive signal towards resolution of long pending issues between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army.
“The Major General-level talks at Daulat Beg Oldie and Chushul to resolve the ongoing stand-off in Eastern Ladakh have been on since Friday morning with breaks with an objective to address the pending issues,” said reports, quoting the sources in the defence establishment.
The Indian side is being represented by Trishul Division Commander Maj Gen PK Mishra and Uniform Force Commander Maj Gen Hariharan at two different locations, they added.
The talks are based on the outcome of the 19th round of Corps Commander-level talks held between the two sides on August 13,14 at the Chushul Moldo border meeting point.
The two sides are discussing points about resolving legacy issues including resumption of patrolling in the Depsang plains and the issue of Chinese military presence at the CNN junction, they added.
In a rare two-day military talks, India and China earlier this month agreed to resolve the remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in an expeditious manner besides maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
The talks were held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side of the LAC on August 13 and 14, a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Johannesburg to attend a summit of BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) where he is set to come face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The readout on the 19th round of Corps Commander-level meeting described the talks as “positive, constructive and in-depth” but it did not indicate any immediate breakthrough in the disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points.
It was for the first time, the high-level military talks on the border row spanned two days, people familiar with the matter said, adding the discussions totalled around 17 hours over two days.
“The two sides had a positive, constructive and in-depth discussion on the resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector. In line with the guidance provided by the leadership, they exchanged views in an open and forward looking manner,” the statement had said.
“They agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations through military and diplomatic channels,” it said.
“In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the peace and tranquillity on the ground in the border areas,” the statement released simultaneously in Delhi and Beijing said.
It is learnt that in the talks, the Indian side strongly pressed for resolving the lingering issues at Depsang and Demchok.
A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) following the 18th round of military talks in April said that “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 government refers to eastern Ladakh as the Western Sector.
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
The Indian delegation at the talks was headed by Lt Gen Rashim Bali, the Commander of the Leh-headquartered 14 Corps while the Chinese team was led by the commander of the South Xinjiang military district.
In the 18th round of the military dialogue that was held on April 23, the Indian side had pitched for resolving the lingering issues at Depsang and Demchok at the earliest.
On July 24, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of the five-nation grouping BRICS in Johannesburg.
In its statement on the meeting, the MEA said Doval conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had “eroded strategic trust” and the public and political basis of the relationship.
It said the NSA emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral ties.
India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.
The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
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