India, China Stick to Guns, but Agree to Keep Up Talks

India, China Stick to Guns, but Agree to Keep Up Talks

NEW DELHI: There was no agreement on further disengagement of troops in the border areas of Ladakh when senior officials from India and China met on Friday for another round of diplomatic talks even though both sides agreed to continue dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The talks took place under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC).

An official statement said, “The two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through the diplomatic and military mechanisms to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points so as to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity to enable progress in the bilateral relations.” 

China has refused to ease up its deployment of troops in eastern Ladakh while India has refused to move the bilateral relationship without a full disengagement in the border areas. Agreeing to ensure stability on the ground and prevent any untoward incident, the two sides decided to hold the next (12th) round of the senior commanders’ meeting (military talks) at an early date “to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the western sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols”.

In response to questions on Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said, “It has been the Chinese actions over the last year, including amassing of a large number of troops close to border areas in the western sector, and trying to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC, which have seriously disturbed peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Bagchi asserted that China’s actions were in “violation of our bilateral agreements, including the 1993 and 1996 agreements that mandate that the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the Line of Actual Control and that two sides will keep their military forces in the areas along the Line of Actual Control to a minimum level”.

Addressing the Qatar Economic Forum earlier this week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar pointed out that troop deployments continue in eastern Ladakh and added, “The issue is whether China will live up to the written commitments which are made about both countries not deploying a large armed force at the border.”