(TibetanReview.net, Jul19’22) – In their 16th round of Corps Commander-level talks held on Jul 17, the Indian and Chinese sides had detailed exchange of views on issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector, in alignment with the guidance provided by the state leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Jul 18, citing a joint press release published by China’s Defense Ministry.
However, the Indian media reported that the talks ended in a stalemate, with no concrete breakthrough yet, but with an agreement to maintain stability on the ground. India also said it held a “frank” and “in-depth” exchange of views with China in order to resolve the border standoff in the Himalayas that has strained bilateral ties between the nuclear-armed nations, according to thenationalnews.com Jul 18.
In their joint statement issued on Jul 18, the two sides have reaffirmed that they will “maintain the security and stability on the ground in the western sector” and carry forward the dialogue through military and diplomatic channels to “work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest”.
The globaltimes.cn report said the third round of talks this year, held on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point, was marked by an overall positive atmosphere between the two neighbors, although it will take some time for them to figure out a solution both sides can accept.
In their earlier talks held on Mar 11, China and India carried forward their discussions from the previous round on Jan 12 for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector, the report said.
It said the two sides were also trying hard to prevent frictions from escalating into conflicts while continuing to narrow differences through dialogue and release positive signals to avoid the recurrence or intensification of conflicts.
The border issue, if unsettled, will always be a source of risk for the normal development of bilateral relations, Qian Feng, Director of the Research Department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, was cited as saying. But because of the complicated situation, it may still take some time for the two sides to figure out a solution that both agree on, Qian has added.
On the Indian side, it was reported that the stalemate in the talks to end the standoff in Eastern Ladakh continued with no breakthrough in the 16th round of Corps Commander talks held on Jul 17.
In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the “security and stability” on the ground in the Western Sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), thehindu.com Jul 19 cited a joint statement issued late on Jul 18 as saying.
“The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” the joint statement was quoted as saying.
“The two sides reaffirmed that the resolution of remaining issues would help in restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations.”
Since the stand-off began in May 2020, the two sides have held 15 rounds of senior military commander talks with disengagement undertaken from both sides of Pangong Tso in Feb 2021, and from PP 17 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area in Aug 2021, in addition to Galwan in 2020 after the violent clash.
It was earlier reported by the timesofindia.com Jul 14 that while India expected some progress in completing the stalled troop disengagement at Patrolling Point-15 (PP-15) in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area in the 16th round of military talks, China had shown no signs of disengaging from the much bigger stand-offs at Depsang and the Charding Ninglung Nallah (CNN) track junction at Demchok.
“There continue to be mixed signals from China and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). They have shown no intent to even properly discuss the Depsang stand-off till now,” it quoted an Indian source as saying.
Over 50,000 troops and heavy equipment continue to be deployed on both sides, close to the LAC. In the last two years, China has also undertaken massive construction of infrastructure, habitat and support structures to maintain the troops close to the LAC, altering the ground status. India also made moves to counter the Chinese posturing.