India and China have agreed to sustain the dialogue process to ensure disengagement of troops from the friction points at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The two sides also reiterated their resolve to maintain peace in the interim at the border.
These two main points emerged from the Corps Commander level talks between India and China on Saturday last and the two countries on Monday issued a joint statement.
The statement issued here said, “The 12th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side. This round of meeting was held following the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India and People’s Republic of China on July 14 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and the 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held on June 25.
The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas. The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further enhanced mutual understanding.
They agreed to resolve these remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations.
The two sides also agreed that in the interim they will continue their effective efforts in ensuring stability along the LAC in the Western Sector and jointly maintain peace and tranquility.”
The 12 rounds of talks were held nearly four months after the last round in early April. Stalemate persists at three friction points including Hot Springs, Gogra and the Depsang valley for the last more than a year.
A breakthrough was not expected in the latest round as China wants the involvement of local military commanders of both the sides in the talks. However, the Indian security establishment is wary of the proposal.
Moreover, India has all along maintained that disengagement and withdrawal from all the stand-off sites is the prerequisite for restoring normal ties between the two countries. China is in favour of keeping this issue aside and get on relations. Also, India has insisted that status quo ante has to be restored at the LAC as was in April 2020.
The first stand-off began in the first week of May last year at the Pangong Tso(lake)and snowballed into face-offs at many other places at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
After several rounds of talks the military and diplomatic levels, armies of both the countries withdrew from the southern and northern banks of the Pangong Tso in February this year.
Since then, no progress took place in terms of disengagement from the three friction points despite military and diplomatic level talks in the last few months.
Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi held bilateral talks on the issue on July 14 on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO). This interaction at the high political level saw both the sides reiterating their commitment to continue dialogue for early resolution of the disputes.