No breakthrough in 18th Indian-Chinese Corps Commanders meeting

Armoured vehicles, artillery and military equipment are still stationed at the forward posts…reports Asian Lite News

The 18th Corps Commanders-level talks between India and China held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side to address areas of contention — nearly five months after its last round in December 2022, has ended inconclusively, an official said on Monday.

The repeated attempts by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to violate the Line of Actual Control (LAC), leading to tension in Ladakh, spurred the institution of the Corps Commander-level meetings in 2020.

While the two sides agreed on mutual withdrawals from Pangong Tso, Gogra, and Hot Springs, the Depsang Plains and Demchok remain points of contention and tension.

Several rounds of talks have led to the withdrawal of troops from several places along the LAC.

According to sources in the know of things, both India and China have been stopping each other to patrol beyond the ‘Bottleneck’ area.

Armoured vehicles, artillery and military equipment are still stationed at the forward posts.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement said: “The two sides had a frank and in-depth discussion on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector so as to restore peace and tranquility in the border areas, which will enable progress in bilateral relations.

“In line with the guidance provided by the State leaders and further to the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in March 2023, they had an exchange of views in an open and candid manner,” it added.

The MEA statement noted that both sides agreed to maintain security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector.

“The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” it said.

India has sought de-escalation in which additional troops and equipment will be withdrawn to resume the status of April 2020. However, China has not agreed and wants the present holding positions to be recognised.

At the meeting on Sunday, the Ladakh-based Fire and Fury Corps Commander Lt Gen Rashim Bali led the Indian side.

It is understood to have raised the issue of the Depsang plains, Demchok and disengagement by both sides.

The 18th Corps Commanders-level talks were held days before the meeting of the Defence Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Delhi this week.

Amid the SCO Defence Ministers’ in-person meeting on April 27-28, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is also likely to hold bilateral talks with his newly-installed Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, and the situation on the LAC is likely to figure in these.

The SCO comprises Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan.

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