No headway on LAC disengagement in India-China border talks

The Galwan clash of June 2020 saw both India and China amass troops and weaponry at the Ladakh border

NEW DELHI: There was no agreement on further disengagement in the border areas between India and China after senior officials from both countries met at the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs on Friday.
An official statement said, “The two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points so as to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity to enable progress in the bilateral relations.” China has refused to ease up its deployment of troops in eastern Ladakh. India has refused to move the bilateral relationship without a full disengagement in the border areas.
On Friday, agreeing to ensure stability on the ground and prevent any untoward incident, the two sides will hold the next (12th) round of the Senior Commanders meeting in the coming days “to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols.”
On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in response to questions said, “it has been the Chinese actions over the last year, including amassing of a large number of troops close to border areas in the Western Sector, and trying to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC, which have seriously disturbed peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”
Bagchi asserted that China’s actions were in “violation of our bilateral agreements, including the 1993 and 1996 agreements that mandate that the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and that two sides will keep their military forces in the areas along the Line of Actual Control to a minimum level.”
Addressing the Qatar Economic Forum earlier this week, foreign minister S Jaishankar pointed out that troop deployments continue in eastern Ladakh, he said, “The issue is whether China will live up to the written commitments which are made about both countries not deploying a large armed force at the border.”
The larger issue, he said, was the future of the bilateral relationship, “whether we can build this relationship on the basis of mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest.” While Jaishankar has linked the bilateral relationship to the border issue, this was the first time he expressed doubts that the two countries could repair this present broken relationship.

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