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India-China Talks: 9 Hr-Long Discussion On ‘Specific Details To Cool Temper In Friction Points’

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New Delhi: India on Saturday laid emphasis on having an early disengagement of troops and weapons in Hot Springs, Gogra, and other remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh during the 12th round of military talks with China.

The military talks to move forward on the disengagement process in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh lasted for around nine hours, news agency PTI reported sources in the security establishment as saying.

The Indian delegation is led by Leh-based XIV Corps chief Lt Gen PGK Menon and Naveen Srivastava, the Additional Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

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On the other hand, the Chinese military delegation is headed by Commander of the PLA’s Western Theatre Command Xu Qiling, who was appointed earlier this month.

Both sides held detailed deliberation and the talks were comprehensive, sources told the agency without divulging details. 

So far, neither India nor China has issued an official comment on the outcome of the meeting that took place at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. The expectation was to reach a breakthrough in the disengagement process in Gogra and Hot Springs.

Both sides are learnt to have discussed “specific details to cool tempers in the remaining friction points including moving ahead with the disengagement process and agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground”.

The talks began as scheduled at 10:30 AM and ended at 7:30 PM, the report informed.

The Indian side forcefully pressed for early resolution of the standoff and particularly insisted on expeditious disengagement in Hot Springs and Gogra, a PTI source said.

Ahead of the talks, it was stated that India was hopeful of a positive outcome on the disengagement process.

Prior Developments In India-China Talks

India has been insisting that the resolution of the outstanding issues, including at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra, is essential for the overall ties between the two countries.

The 12th round of talks took place after a gap of over three and a half months as the 11th round of military dialogue had taken place on April 9 at the Chushul border point on the Indian side of the LAC and it lasted for about 13 hours.

It came weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar firmly conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the 14-month standoff and the prolongation of the existing situation in eastern Ladakh were visibly impacting the bilateral ties in a “negative manner”.

The two foreign ministers had held a one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tajik capital city Dushanbe on July 14.

In the meeting, EAM Jaishankar stressed that any unilateral change in the status quo along the LAC was “not acceptable” to India and that the overall ties can only develop after full restoration of peace and tranquillity in eastern Ladakh.

In the military talks held in April, both sides discussed ways to take forward the disengagement process in Hot Springs, Gogra, and Depsang with a larger aim to bring down tensions in the region. But there was no forward movement in the disengagement process after that.

The border standoff between India and China erupted in May last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

To resolve the border tensions, a series of military and diplomatic talks have been held by the two sides as they completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February in line with an agreement on disengagement.

Currently, each side has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.

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