The 20th round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China held Monday-Tuesday (Oct 9-10) failed to curtail tensions along the Indo-Tibet border in Eastern Ladakh.
This means that both Indian and Chinese soldiers will continue to remain deployed in forward areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for the fourth straight winter.
Statement from Indian MEA
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) released a statement on Wednesday (Oct 11), which read, “The 20th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side on 9-10 October 2023.”
“The two sides exchanged views in a frank, open and constructive manner for an early and mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector, in accordance with the guidance provided by the national leadership of the two countries, and building on the progress made in the last round of Corps Commanders’ Meeting held on 13-14 August 2023,” the statement by MEA added.
It added that both sides agreed to maintain the “momentum of dialogue and negotiations through the relevant military and diplomatic mechanisms”.
“They also committed to maintain peace and tranquillity on the ground in the border areas in the interim,” the short statement added.
Peace efforts continue
This was the second time when military commanders from the two nations held talks for two consecutive days. These talks form one of two approaches employed by India and China to address the prolonged military standoff.
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The other avenue, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), engages diplomats and officials.
The standoff and a deadly clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020, which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops, have strained bilateral relations to their lowest point in six decades.
Results so far
After multiple rounds of military and diplomatic negotiations, both sides withdrew their frontline forces from Pangong Lake, Gogra, and Hot Springs. However, they remain deadlocked on key “friction points” at Depsang and Demchok.
The establishment of buffer zones has also restricted Indian troops’ access to areas they previously patrolled.
Indian leadership has emphasised that the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border regions is essential for normalising bilateral ties. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar earlier characterised the current situation as “abnormal.”