New Delhi: India and China on Wednesday held in-person diplomatic talks and discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in a ‘frank and open manner’. Both sides also agreed to hold the 19th round of high-level military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas. The two nations agreed to continue discussions through military and diplomatic channels.
The LAC situation was discussed during the 27th Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), which was held in New Delhi. While the Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Chinese side was led by the DG of the Boundary and Oceanic Affairs Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The previous WMCC meeting was held in Beijing on February 22.
“The two sides reviewed the situation along the LAC in Western Sector of India-China border areas and discussed proposals for disengagement in remaining areas in a frank and open manner. Restoration of peace and tranquillity will create conditions for normalising bilateral relations,” the MEA said in an official statement.
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area. The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
Earlier on April 13 this year, India-China also held the 18th round of high-level military talks and agreed to stay in close touch and work out a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the earliest.
Days later, Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu visited India to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). On the sidelines of the SCO meeting, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a nearly 45-minute bilateral meeting with Li.
In the talks, Singh told his Chinese counterpart that China’s violation of existing border agreements ‘eroded’ the entire basis of ties between the two countries and that all issues relating to the frontier must be resolved in accordance with the existing pacts.
On May 4, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang the importance of resolving the eastern Ladakh border row and ensuring peace and tranquillity along the LAC for development of bilateral ties.
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