India has once again asked China for complete disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the ninth round of talks between the Indian Army and the PLA. The talks between senior military commanders from the two Asian giants started on Sunday at 10 am at Moldo in eastern Ladakh to find a possible solution to the nearly nine-month border standoff in the region. The meeting concluded at 2.30 am on Monday.
Lt Gen PGK Menon, the Corps Commander of Leh-based HQ 14 Corps led the Indian delegation for the talks. According to media reports, the Indian side proposed verification measures at certain flashpoints along the LAC.
The eighth and last round of military talks took place on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
Onus on China
India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.
On January 12, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane had said that Indian troops will hold their ground as long as it takes to achieve the "national goals and objectives" even as he hoped for an amicable resolution of the prolonged standoff through talks. The standoff erupted on May 5 last.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete outcome to resolve the standoff. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.
India, China diplomatic talks
Last month, India and China held another round of diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs. However, no concrete outcome emerged from the talks.
Following the sixth round of military talks on September 21, the two sides had announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.
This round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave. The pact 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 LAC.