There was no breakthrough in the 13th round of India-China Corps Commander Level meeting held on Monday at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point.
“During the meeting, the Indian side made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals,” a statement from the Indian Army said. “The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas,” it stated.
The talks took place between Indian Army’s 14 corps commander Lt Gen PGK Menon and his Chinese counterpart and lasted nearly eight-and-a-half hours.
The statement added that during the meeting the discussions between the two sides focussed on resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
“The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements,” India’s statement noted, adding that it was therefore necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Western Sector.
“This would also be in accord with the guidance provided by the two Foreign Ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they had agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest,” the statement mentioned. It added that the Indian side emphasised such resolution of the remaining areas would facilitate progress in the bilateral relations.
Stating that the two sides have agreed to maintain communications and stability on the ground, the statement mentioned that India expects the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.
Meanwhile, China accused the Indian side of persisting in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations, even as it claimed to have “made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated China’s sincerity of maintaining overall interests of bilateral military relations.”
This came from China’s western theatre command spokesperson. The spokesperson added that the Indian side “should cherish the hard-won situation in China-India border areas,” and not misjudge the situation.
“India wants full disengagement”
Sources in the government told News18.com that India has sought a full disengagement of troops at the remaining friction points such as Hot Springs and Depsang Plains at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, and not a piecemeal approach to the overall situation.
A source said the disagreement is likely to have been on the issue of overall disengagement at the LAC, which could have resulted from the PLA commander having a specific mandate of discussing just limited locations.
While Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged from the Pangong Tso and Gogra areas, there hasn’t been a disengagement at the other friction points at the LAC, such as the Hot Springs area and Depsang Plains, the latter being a long standing issue.
Both the countries have pumped in thousands of additional troops and equipment in the region and any sort of de-escalation is yet to take place, despite the multiple talks between the two sides through diplomatic and military channels.
A second source in the government said that the early statement from the Western Theatre Command also reflects the battle of perception that China sought to engage in.
“As part of its perception battle, it was a pre-emptive action on China’s part to release its official word stating India had made unreasonable demands,” the source said.
The sources added that an overall trust deficit between the two countries has made the ongoing disengagement a slow process, despite the multiple rounds of diplomatic and military level talks between the two sides since last year.
Both the countries are staring at yet another long and harsh winter at the LAC.
Recently, China had carried out an aggressive patrolling with 200 troops at Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector and was countered by the Indian Army. A month ago, China had carried out a similar patrolling at Uttarakhand’s Barahoti.