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India-China talks: There is a silver lining, but issues persist


New Delhi, Sep 23: India and China have agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any action that may complicate the situation.

A joint statement issued a day after the military commanders of both sides met on Monday however had not reference to the restoration of status quo ante that existed along the Line of Actual Control before the Chinese unilaterally altered it in April.

India-China talks: There is a silver lining, but issues persist

Sources in New Delhi told OneIndia that while the talks remained inconclusive on Monday, the military commanders of both sides are expected to meet again in the next few days.

Although the stalemate continues at the Line of Actual Control, both sides during the talks on Monday agreed that India and China need to completely disengage and ensure peace in the border areas.

The problem, sources familiar with the developments said is the deployment of huge weapons platforms by the People's Liberation Army. The PLA has deployed intermediate-ballistic missiles in occupied Aksai Chin. The PLA had resorted to similar tactics in the South China Sea when it test-fired DF-26 and DF-21 D missiles to threaten the US Navy aircraft carriers, Ronald Reagan and Nimitz.

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The official cited above said that India is not deterred and will counter the PLA in the worst-case scenario. The official also said that there would be at least a few more rounds of talks before the disengagement could take place.

The India-China military commander level talks began at 9.30 am on Monday and lasted until 10.30 pm.

Both sides talked hard and to avoid kinetic operations and look for a solution. However, both India and China remain deployed at the Line of Actual Control. While both sides adopted a hard line in negotiations, there has been no breakthrough after the marathon meeting.

During the meeting, India reiterated that it expects a complete disengagement by China at the friction points.

The meeting between delegations headed by 14 Corps Commander, Lt. General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District Chief, Major General Liu Lin began at 9.30 am.

For the first time, the Indian delegation comprised an official of the Ministry of External Affairs. Those part of the delegation also included Naveen Srivastava, MEA, Joint Secretary (East Asia) and Lt. General P K Menon, who will replace Lt General Singh as the 14 Corps Commander next month.

India told China to disengage from Pangong Tso, Chushul and Gogra Hot Springs. Further India also sought for the finalisation of a roadmap for Des-escalation along the entire frontier in Eastern Ladakh.

India said that it would reciprocate the action, once China makes the first move. India wants China to make the first move as the latter created the face-off. Further, the Indian side made it clear that if China does not make any move, then our troops are prepared for a long haul.

The talks were held in Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control. The commanders sat across the table after a gap of one and half months to discuss the situation at the border. The talks were held to explore ways to defuse tensions in eastern Ladakh.

The main focus of the meeting was on the implementation of a five-point agreement reached between the two countries.

Both sides reached the agreement to resolve the border row at a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) meet in Moscow on September 10.

The agreement included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The sources said the Indian Army also strengthened its dominance in over 20 strategic mountain heights around the northern and southern banks of Pangong lake as well as in the extended general area of Chushul in the last few days even as freezing conditions are gripping the area, the sources said.

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    Officials familiar with the development tell OneIndia that the Chinese side is not yet ready to disengage. The process may take longer and China will have to agree to major concessions, the official also said.

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