India and China are in communication for holding the 11th round of military talks to resolve the tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. Responding to a question at a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday,
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said there is no delay in the meeting between the two countries however he did not confirm the date for the 11th round of talks. Both the countries held the 10th round of military talks in February, nearly seven weeks ago and diplomatic talks in March nearly a month ago. Reminded of India’s firm position of restoring the status quo of April 2020 at the Ladakh border and China’s seeming reluctance to talk about it, the spokesperson said, I believe it should be talked in the meetings. India has consistently maintained that complete disengagement in all the friction areas at LAC in Eastern Ladakh would allow both sides to consider de-escalation of forces in the region and that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquility and provide conditions for the progress of bilateral relationship.
The two militaries had completed the disengagement of frontline troops from Pangong Tso region ahead of the 10th round of military talks in February. However, no progress was made since then regarding disengagement at other friction areas even though both the foreign ministers spoke over phone in February and both sides decided to establish a hotline for timely communication. India has insisted that China’s actions on the LAC have seriously damaged bilateral ties and normalcy can be restored only by complete disengagement, de-escalation and restoration of the status quo on the border. However, China has been pushing for restoration of normalcy in relations without focusing on status-quo.
According to External Affairs Ministry, it had been agreed at the 21st meeting of WMCC on 12th March, to convene the 11th meeting of the senior military commanders “at an early date so that two sides could work towards complete disengagement from the remaining friction areas”.
The Chinese statement on the same meeting had noted that the two sides had positively evaluated the disengagement at Pangong Lake and had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on promoting resolution in other areas. It added that the two sides had agreed to stabilise the situation on the border and avoid any “repetition of the situation on the ground in accordance with the five-point consensus reached at the Moscow meeting of the two foreign ministers and the spirit of their February 25 phone call”. Both the countries have been locked in a tense standoff since May last year followed by a deadly clash at Galwan Valley in June – which left 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops dead. This was the first incident on the LAC involving fatalities since 1975 which did a considerable damage to bilateral ties.