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India and China set for 14th round of military talks over their intractable border dispute

(TibetanReview.net, Nov19’21) – Speaking in a more friendly tone in contrast to the acrimonious end to their field-commander level talks last October, India and China have agreed to “consolidate” the results in the areas where troop disengagement has taken place and prepare for and hold the 14th round of military talks soon, reported the hindustantimes.com Nov 19, citing the Chinese foreign ministry. The intractable problem between the two sides is that China has been seeking normalization of the border situation as it is while India has been insisting on China withdrawing from Indian areas they newly occupied recently.

The ministry was cited as saying in a statement that in order to ease the ongoing military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the two sides will shift their focus from emergency response to “normalised control” of the disputed boundary.

The statement was reported to have come after the 23rd round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs held via video link on Nov 18.

The report noted, however, that there was no mention in the Chinese statement of disengagement of troops from the remaining areas of friction such as Depsang and Hot Springs.

The two sides have been locked in a military standoff for more than 18 months with bilateral ties plummeting to its worst in decades.

The report noted that the shift from “emergency response” to “normalised control” was a repeat of what Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi had told India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar during a meeting in Dushanbe in September.

“The two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through diplomatic and military channels, actively prepare for the 14th round of military commander-level talks, and make efforts to resolve the remaining issues in the western section of the China-India border,” the Chinese statement was reported to have added.

The last round of military talks between India and China in October ended in an acrimonious note with Beijing accusing New Delhi of making “unreasonable and unrealistic demands”.

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