No breakthrough, but it creates ground for more talks
In an effort to defuse the nearly month-long stand-offs at various locations at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh, top military commanders of India and China held extensive talks on Saturday. There was no immediate breakthrough, and both the sides agreed to remain engaged to resolve the ongoing confrontations.
The high-level talks between Leh-based 14 Corps chief Lt General Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart Major General Liu Lin, commander of Tibet Military District in Chushul-Moldo in China, came a day after the video conference between the senior diplomats of the two countries — Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry, and Wu Jianghao, director general in China’s foreign ministry.
They agreed not to let their “differences” turn into “disputes” and address contentious issues through peaceful dialogue while respecting each other’s sensitivities and concerns.
India and China have also agreed that both the sides should implement the consensus reached between the leaderships of the two countries that the “two neighbours do not constitute a threat to each other and that each other is an opportunity for development and do not let differences turn into disputes.” This is in a reference to decisions taken at the two informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As expected, the talks between the senior military commanders were not to yield instant solution. However, the three-hour long parleys prepared the ground for some more rounds of talks at the local military level in the coming days, sources said.
At present, there are at least four flashpoints at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh and both the sides ramping up their troop strength. More than 12 rounds of talks at various levels of military were held in the last fortnight but failed to achieve any breakthrough.
Earlier in the day, the Indian Army officials said Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas.
At this stage, therefore, any speculative and unsubstantiated reporting about these engagements would not be helpful and the media is advised to refrain from such reporting, they said.
As of now, the Chinese have deployed more than 5,000 troops at the various stand-off sites in a frontage of 20 to 30 km. Moreover, the Chinese have also intruded more than three kms into the Hot Springs area in the Galwan valley. They have pitched tents and constructed barracks and bunkers.
With China adopting an aggressive stance on the LAC in the last one month triggering eyeball to eyeball confrontations, India is determined that the withdrawal has to be mutual and simultaneous. Moreover, the China should also pull back its artillery and heavy armour which was brought forward thereby further aggravating the situation, sources said adding situation should return to pre-May period. China tried to redefine its claim line on the LAC by intruding into the Indian territory in first week of May.
Also, India says the Chinese military is hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim, and strongly refutes Beijing’s contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.
Sunday, 07 June 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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