Has China really backed off from Ladakh border?

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Beijing, May 7: Has the standoff between China and India at the border in Ladakh really been solved? According to one report, Beijing on Monday declined to say that the standoff between its troops and the Indian army in Ladakh had been settled and instead made ambiguous comments.

When asked whether the Chinese troops had really withdrawn from the Indian territory, the country's foreign ministry sources said that the two neighbours were speaking through relevant mechanisms and discussions had proved useful. They did not clarify the current status of the standoff.

The Indian media, on the other hand, had reported that the troops from both countries had withdrawn their troops and restored the original situation in the region. The media and the opposition in Indian had been creating a big fuss over alleged Chinese incursion in the Indian territory and put pressure on the government to take stern measures.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the two neighbours took cooperative and constructive measures following the standoff, keeping in mind the larger interest of bilateral relation. It lauded India's efforts to handle the situation through relevant mechanisms like diplomatic channels and border meetings.

Ever since the standoff was first reported in mid-April, the Chinese side had said that its troops had never crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the disputed border that divides the two neighbours. It said that its troops were only patrolling the Chinese side of the LAC.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote"><p>Here's an Indian news report that, unlike the one by PTI agency, doesn't twist what China said today on the record: <a href="http://t.co/XTWVTOTPlV" title="http://goo.gl/a56AN">goo.gl/a56AN</a></p>— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) <a href="https://twitter.com/Chellaney/status/331391923627642882">May 6, 2013</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Experts felt that the consistent stand might have stopped the Chinese from admitting that it had withdrawn its troops for it would mean that its troops had indeed violated the LAC.

The issue is likely to be the prominent one among external Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's agenda when he visits China on May 9 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. The two ministers will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues concerning both sides. The new Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, is also set to visit India later this month.

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