We shouldn't expect favourable outcome in every round of border talks with China: Gen Naravane
New Delhi, Oct 21: India should not expect favourable outcome in every round of talks being held with China to settle border issues and "points of divergence" with the neighbouring country will be resolved as long as both the nations keep talking, Army Chief General M M Naravane said on Thursday.
"There were 4-5 points of friction (between India and China during the border talks) and we have resolved all but one. I am sure in another couple of rounds -- I can't give a definitive figure whether one more or two more -- we will be able to resolve these issues also as we proceed," Gen Naravane said.
Earlier this month, India and China failed to make any headway in resolving the 17-month standoff in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh during the 13th round of military talks between the two countries. The Indian Army had on October 11 stated the "constructive suggestions" made by it at the 13th round of military talks were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor Beijing could provide any "forward-looking" proposals.
In an interaction at a defence conclave here, the Army Chief said that the situation at the eastern Ladakh border with China is better and more stable now from what existed almost a year ago. India and China have had a number of rounds of talks and as a result of those talks, we have been able to achieve a fair amount of disengagement, he added. "What I would like to put across is that we should not expect a favourable outcome in every round of talks. There are always going to be some points of convergence, some differences," he said. "As long as we keep talking, we will be able to resolve those points of divergence and come closer and closer together and by and by resolve all the issues that are there," the Army Chief said. The current border standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies erupted in May last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry. Gen Naravane said the talks and the interlocutions with China are taking place at the political plane, at the diplomatic level and at the military level.
"So once all of this is put together and I am sure we will be able to come up with a satisfactory resolution. And when I say satisfactory, it has to be satisfactory for both the sides and I am confident that will happen sooner or later," he said. He asserted that the Indian Army was not for a moment letting its guard down or imagining that things can not worsen in the future.
"It is always our hope that all the differences can be resolved through dialogues and discussions but if that is not there and if the situation is forced upon us, then we are always ready to man our borders and protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty and that is a year-round affair," he said. "It is not as if it is only during the summer months...we are 24x7 always ready to take on whatever is thrown at us," he added.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, India and China completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August and in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February. As far as the last year or so is concerned, the two Cs -- China and COVID-19 -- did take up most of the Indian Army's time, the Army Chief said.
"Because of the challenges that were happening on the eastern Ladakh, we did have to mobilise a large number of forces in a very short time span but we were able to achieve that once again because of very good synergy between services," he said. He also thanked the Indian Air Force because of whom the Indian Army were able to mobilise forces in a short span to eastern Ladakh. "I think it is the speed of our mobilisation and the speed with which we could induct forces over such difficult terrain and such difficult climatic conditions....that caught our adversary little bit by surprise and we were able to stabilise the situation," he said. PTI