April 1, 2023

No breakthrough in India-China talks on border row but next meeting soon | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: There was no breakthrough in the marathon top-level military talks between India and China on Wednesday, with Beijing again showing reluctance to complete troop disengagement at a friction point in eastern Ladakh while also refusing to discuss steps to defuse the bigger problems at Depsang and Demchok.
The 14th round of talks, led by the Leh-based 14 Corps commander Lt-General Anindya Sengupta and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Yang Lin, however, resolved to hold the next meeting at the earliest.
Unlike the 13th round on October 10, which had ended in a bitter stalemate with accusations hurled at each other, India and China also issued a joint statement this time.
But like previous joint statements, it was restricted to the usual platitudes about the two sides agreeing to “follow the guidance provided by their state leaders” and maintaining dialogue “to work out a mutually-acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest”.
“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,” it added.
Sources said the Indian delegation during the 13-hour-long talks on Wednesday strongly pushed for completion of the stalled troop disengagement at Patrolling Point-15 (PP-15) in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area, the groundwork for which was completed during the 12th round in July last year.
“Though there was no immediate positive response to the Indian proposal, there were indications that China could agree to the disengagement at PP-15 in the 15th round to be held soon,” said a source.
There is, however, no resolution in sight for the much tougher stand-offs at the Charding Ninglung Nallah (CNN) track junction at Demchok and the strategically-located Depsang Plains. “But these two issues are also on the table from our side,” the source said.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been actively blocking Indian soldiers in the Depsang Bulge area, around 18-km inside what India considers its own territory, from even going to their traditional PPs-10, 11, 12, 12A and 13 in Depsang since April-May 2020.
It is evident that China as yet has no intention of restoring the status quo as it existed in April 2020, before the PLA’s multiple incursions into eastern Ladakh, given that it has consolidated military and gun positions facing India and built massive infrastructure like troop billets, roads, bridges and helipads along the frontier.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday also criticized Army chief General M M Naravane’s statement that the overall PLA threat had not reduced despite “partial troop disengagement” in eastern Ladakh.
“At present, China and India are in dialogue and communication through diplomatic and military channels to ease the situation at the border. We hope certain individuals on the Indian side would refrain from making unconstructive comments,” it said.
Gen Naravane on Wednesday had said that though India wanted to peacefully resolve the 20-month long troop confrontation with China through dialogue, if it came to a conflict, the country would emerge victorious.
Stressing that India was matching China in infrastructure build-up, General Naravane had stated Indian troops would remain forward deployed till the PLA agreed to the sequential process of disengagement, de-escalation and de-induction.

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