China responds positively, 14th round of army talks on LAC soon

China has “positively” responded to India’s proposal to hold the next (14th) round of senior army commanders meeting at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the western sector, ET has learnt from highly placed sources.

A date for the meeting has not yet been fixed.

The 14th round of talks has been pending for the past few months following intransigence from the Chinese side, delaying the disengagement along the LAC in the western sector. Disengagement and de-escalation are key to the proposed Russia-India-China summit proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is eyeing to break ice between New Delhi and Beijing for the sake of larger Eurasian stability. Critics say China had been delaying a decision on the army commanders’ meeting in order to maintain the status quo.

The 23rd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) held in November had agreed on the 14th round of commanders’ talk.

The Indian delegation at the WMCC was led by an additional secretary (east Asia) in the ministry of external affairs. The director general of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs led the Chinese delegation.

The two sides agreed that they should also continue to ensure a stable ground situation and avoid any untoward incident, according to an official statement.

The two sides recalled the agreement between the external affairs minister and the foreign minister of China during their meeting in September in Dushanbe that military and diplomatic officials of the two sides should continue their discussions to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

Accordingly, the two sides had candid and in-depth discussions on the situation along the LAC in the western sector of India-China Border Areas and also reviewed the developments since the last meeting of the senior commanders of both sides, which was held on October 10, according to the statement.

In this regard, they agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols so as to restore peace and tranquillity, the statement added.

The 13th round of India-China corps commander-level meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point. 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 the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements.

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