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Amid Chinese fighter plane incident, Indian and Chinese militaries prepare for 16th round of talks after four months

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul10’22) – India and China are in the process of finalising the date for the 16th round of their corps commander-level talks after a gap of four months amid reports that a Chinese fighter plane had flown close to Indian troop positions along the LAC in the Ladakh region in the last week of June. 

India remains anxious to settle the border issue by getting China to vacate the territories the latter occupied in early 2020 and thereby restore the status quo while China insists the border settlement could wait while the two sides should normalise relations in other areas of mutual concern.

Their irreconcilable differences mean that a new talk, even if held, may not see any concrete move towards a full settlement of the border issue.

China has so far refused to even complete the stalled troop disengagement at Patrolling Point-15 in the larger Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area, let alone move towards resolving the bigger stand-offs at the strategically-located Depsang Plains and Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction at Demchok, pointed out a timesofindia.com report Jul 9.

Meanwhile, the ANI news service Jul 8 cited sources as saying the fighter plane incident took place at a time when the Chinese side was holding exercises involving its fighter jets and air defence weaponry including the Russian-built S-400 air defence system in the areas bordering the Eastern Ladakh sector.

It was during such wargames on the Chinese side in 2020 when the People’s Liberation Army diverted its troops in heavy numbers towards the Indian positions in Eastern Ladakh which led to multiple face-offs and physical fights in the area, the report noted.

The report cited sources as clarifying the recent fighter plane incident was not a very serious one but such instances should be avoided by the other side as they can lead to possible escalation.

The Chinese fighter plane was reported to have come very close to the areas on the LAC which had seen confrontation between the Indian and Chinese sides during the ongoing military stand-off between the two sides since May 2020.

The Indian Army and Air Force have strengthened their positions heavily since then and the entire Ladakh sector has been fortified to an extent where adversaries cannot even think of unilaterally altering the status quo on the LAC, sources have been cited as saying.

The two armies have kept over 50,000 troops “forward deployed” along the frontier in the region, noted the timesofindia.com report.

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