How long will India play this charade of Koi-aaya-nahin-let-us-talk, while China keeps nibbling?
With regular face-offs, India-China 14th military-level talks failed to achieve breakthroughs to ease tension on the border. The 13-hour-long Corps Commander level talks were held on Wednesday at the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Chushul sector of Eastern Ladakh. The joint statement issued on Thursday said that representatives from the defence and foreign affairs establishments of the two sides were present at the meeting. The two sides had a frank and in-depth exchange of views for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector.
They agreed that both sides should follow the guidance provided by the state leaders and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. It was noted that this would help in the restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.
The two sides also agreed to consolidate on the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector including during winter. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. In this context, it was also agreed that the next round of the Commanders’ talks should be held at the earliest.
With face-offs persisting at some friction points, the two sides agreed to meet soon again to find a mutually acceptable solution. The Indian side was led by 14 Corps chief Lt General Anindiya Sengupta. The talks held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point lasted for more than 12 hours and ended at 10.30 pm.
Army Chief General M M Naravane had said on Wednesday that results cannot be expected during every round of talks on such an issue. He also said both the sides try to understand each other’s perceptions and differences of opinion. Reiterating that sustained dialogue was the way out to resolve tension persisting at the LAC for the last two years, Naravane, however, said the Army is ready to meet any challenge and will not reduce the strength of its troops there.
India and China disengaged from the face-off sites on the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso (lake) last year. Since then, stand-offs are on at some other friction points including the Hot Springs. India has all along maintained that complete withdrawal from all the face-off points at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh is a prerequisite for normalizing bilateral ties.
At present, more than 50,000 troops each from both sides are facing each other at the LAC in Ladakh leading to heightened tension. Besides military-level talks, the two countries have also held a series of diplomatic level talks under the aegis of Working Mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs. The last meeting of the WMCC was held in November last year.
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