India and China on Tuesday issued a joint statement about the sixth round of Corps Commander-level talks and said both countries have resolved to stop sending more troops to the frontline amid the border standoff. The statement added that both sides will refrain from unilaterally changing situation on the Line of Actual Control.
The statement did not mention if the senior commanders of the Indian and Chinese military reached a breakthrough on disengagement and restoration of status quo ante. The talks between both the sides on Monday went on for over 12 hours to resolve the five month long standoff along the disputed boundary in Ladakh.
“The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas,” the statement said. “They agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.”
Both countries also agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground and ensure peace in the border areas, it added. The statement said the next round of talks will be held as soon as possible.
A joint secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs was present for the first time during the talks on Monday, PTI reported. The Indian delegation was headed by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, the commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps of the Indian Army. India has reportedly pushed for a roadmap for complete disengagement and de-induction of Chinese troops from all friction points and along the Line of Actual Control.
The border standoff
Military heads of the two countries have engaged in several rounds of talks over the last three months after 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in violent clashes in Galwan Valley. But these talks have failed to break the impasse.
Last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Rajya Sabha that China continues to illegally occupy approximately 38,000 square kilometre of land in Ladakh.
On September 10, India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The two ministers agreed on a five-point plan to defuse tensions between the countries and said the current situation in the border areas of Ladakh was “not in the interest of either side”. They agreed, therefore, that the border troops of both sides should “continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions”.
On September 7, China accused India of “outrageously firing warning shots” in a new confrontation on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, describing it as as “a serious military provocation”. India denied this and said Chinese troops attempted to close in on Indian forward positions along the Line of Actual Control and “fired a few rounds in the air”. This was the first confirmed use of firearms on the Line of Actual Control by troops in more than four decades.
On September 1, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” on August 31, while discussions between ground commanders were underway. This was followed by earlier moves on the intervening night of August 29 and 30, which, the Indian Army said, were “provocative” military movements to change the status quo.