Walking on a tightrope with long talks with little fruit even after the 11th round, the two sides finally agreed on a speedy resolution.
The corps commander-ranked officers last met on April 9 for the 11th round of talks where the Indian Army told the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that disengagement at all friction points on the disputed border was vital for the de-escalation of the conflict. However, the conflict remained unresolved and delicate with the threat of war looming in the distance.
Finally, top Indian and Chinese commanders admitted to a rapid resolution of the outstanding issues on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the 12th round of military talks held in the Ladakh sector last week, with the conversation focusing on ease of rival troops from the remaining flashpoints on the contested border, said a joint statement issued on Saturday.
The corps commander-ranked officers met on Saturday in an endeavor to reduce border tensions between the two countries, amid hopes in some quarters of reaching an understanding on the disengagement of rival soldiers from Hot Springs and Gogra.
“Some progress was made during the talks, and we are inching towards working out a disengagement plan for Hot Springs and Gogra. We are looking forward to positive outcomes in future talks,” said a senior officer, with a request to remain anonymous. The 12th round of military talks took place at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC and went on for nine hours.
The joint statement described the talks as “a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.”
“The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further enhanced mutual understanding. They agreed to resolve these remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations,” the statement said.
The latest round of talks was held following the meeting of the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers on July 14, in Dushanbe, and the 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on June 25.
The border dispute between India and China has trailed for almost 15 months, with a very violent battle in the Galwan Valley with loss of lives, with escalating skirmishes between the Indian and Chinese armies on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso last year.
“The two sides also agreed that in the interim they will continue their effective efforts in ensuring stability along the LAC in the Western Sector and jointly maintain peace and tranquility,” the joint statement added.
Expectations of an early resolution are not very realistic, said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd).
“Coming after more than three months, it is good to see that the military commanders are meeting to exchange views. However, the differences between the two sides on the process and terms of disengagement are not going to be quickly reconciled. This will require extensive discussions, not only at the military but also at the diplomatic level,” Hooda added.
The general feeling came off that the talks were constructive both by the Indian and Chinese sides. Time will relay the actuality of the talks.