Ladakh Stand-Off: Sino-Indian Military Talks ‘Cordial’, but No Breakthrough Yet

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The two delegations agreed at Saturday’s talks that an “early resolution” would be a good signal in a year that marks 70 years of diplomatic ties, the Indian side said.Ladakh Stand-Off: Sino-Indian Military Talks 'Cordial', but No Breakthrough Yet

File photo of Pangong Tso lake, where Indian and Chinese forces come face to face in Ladakh. Photo: Shome Basu/The Wire

The Wire Staff

The Wire Staff 7 June 2020

New Delhi: The highest-level meeting of Indian and Chinese military officers to discuss the ongoing stand-off in eastern Ladakh has not led to any rollback in China’s new deployments along the line of actual control (LAC), with the Indian government asserting that both sides would continue to remain engaged in order to resolve the situation.

The Indian side was led by General Officer Commanding of the Leh-based 14 Corps, Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and the Chinese delegation by the commander of the South Xinjiang Military district, Major General Lin Liu, at the border personnel meeting point in the Maldo-Chushul region.

The talks “took place in a cordial and positive atmosphere,” said the Indian government’s read-out, released both by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian army. There has been no statement from the Chinese government so far.

Also read: Eastern Ladakh Standoff: Indian and Chinese Armies Hold Lieutenant General-Level Talks

The meeting was held on Saturday after a previous rounds of talks at the commander level did not lead to any change on the ground in the region.

The two armies have been in a stand-off at three points on the frontier in eastern Ladakh for over a month. It had begun with a face-off between the patrol teams at the Galwan region on May 5, followed by a more violent encounter at Pangong Tso lake on May 9. Indian and Chinese soldiers are now in a stand-off at Galwan, Pangong Tso lake and Hot Springs.

India has alleged that the Chinese side has violated the spirit of various border management pacts, as well as gone beyond their claim line of the LAC.

The last paragraph of the Indian statement noted that the “two sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.

With India asserting that more engagement is required “to resolve” the stand-off, it was a clear indication that Saturday’s talks had not led to any major breakthrough.

“Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations,” added the Indian read-out.

Also read: Ahead of Border Talks With China, India Still Unclear of Reason Behind Troops Stand-Off

According to the statement, the two delegations agreed at the Saturday talks that an “early resolution” would be a good signal in a year that marks 70 years of diplomatic ties.

“Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship,” said the press communique.

A day before the talks, the head of the territorial desks at the two foreign ministries held a video conference – on which the two sides released nearly identical statements.

Both statements – from the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries – had references to the guidance from the leadership and the need to avoid differences rising into disputes.

On Friday, the Indian army had also issued an advisory to the media to avoid “any speculative and unsubstantiated reporting”.