Eastern Ladakh row: India, China hold fresh military talks

New Delhi: India and China on Monday held a fresh round of military talks with a focus on disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh and ease overall tensions in the region.

The 19th round of Corps Commander level dialogue took place at the Chushul-Moldo border point on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region, military sources said.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.

The talks began at around 9:30 am and they are continuing, the sources said.

The Indian delegation is headed by Lt Gen Rashim Bali, the Commander of the Leh-headquartered 14 Corps. The Chinese team was to be led by the commander of the South Xinjiang military district.

In the 18th round of the military dialogue that was held on April 23, the Indian side strongly pressed for resolving the lingering issues at Depsang and Demchok.

Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the need to stabilise bilateral relations at a dinner during the G-20 summit in Bali last year.

On July 24, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of the five-nation grouping BRICS in Johannesburg.

In its statement on the meeting, the MEA said Doval conveyed that the situation along the LAC in the western sector of the India-China boundary since 2020 had “eroded strategic trust” and the public and political basis of the relationship.

It said the NSA emphasised the importance of continuing efforts to fully resolve the situation and restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas so as to remove impediments to normalcy in bilateral ties.

India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.

The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.