India and China held a fresh round of high-level military talks on August 13 and 14 to resolve the over three-year-old border standoff. However, a joint press release issued by the two countries on Tuesday did not indicate any breakthrough in the talks.
A major face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in June 2020 led to casualties on both sides – the first in many decades. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.
The 19th round of the India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held after a gap of over three months at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side.
The joint statement issued on Tuesday said that both sides held a positive, constructive and in-depth discussion on the “resolution of the remaining issues” along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector. The Indian government refers to eastern Ladakh as the western sector of the Line of Actual Control.
“They agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations through military and diplomatic channels,” the statement read. “In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas.”
During the 18th round of talks held on April 23, India had called for resolving lingering issues at the Depsang and Demchok areas at the earliest, according to PTI.
However, in the talks this week, China did not agree to restore patrolling rights of Indian forces on the Depsang Plains towards the Daulat Beg Oldie military base and Karakoram Pass in the north as well as the Charding Ninglung Nallah close to Demchok, The Times of India reported, citing unidentified officials.
However, the officials said there was “some amount of agreement to move ahead” in terms of strengthening confidence-building measures and not further increasing force levels.
New Delhi has on several occasions reiterated that bilateral relationship with Beijing cannot go back to normal as long as the standoff continues.
During the 16th round of talks, the two sides had agreed to withdraw their troops from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs, a key standoff point in eastern Ladakh. The disengagement was completed on September 14.