The ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China was “positive, practical and constructive”, the defence ministry said on Monday.
“The two sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops,” a joint statement on the meeting said. It added that the two delegations agreed to follow “consensus of their state leaders” and “maintain the good momentum of dialogue and negotiation”. The statement also said that the two sides agreed to hold the tenth round of talks at an “early date” to advance the de-escalation process.
Military commanders of India and China had met on Sunday at Moldo, at the the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point. The two sides discussed views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the western sector of the border between the two countries.
Significantly, the meeting took place just two days after fresh clashes erupted between troops of the two sides on January 22, along the Line of Actual Control near Naku La in Sikkim, an incident which the Indian Army confirmed on Monday. The situation was under control, even as soldiers from both sides were reportedly injured in the brawl. The Army, however, maintained that the matter was “resolved by local commanders as per established protocols”.
Meanwhile, hours after the incident was confirmed, China on Monday said that it was committed to maintain peace along the border with India, Reuters reported. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, however, said he did not have any specific information to offer on the incident.
“I would like to stress though that China’s border troops are committed to upholding peace and tranquility along the border with India,” Zhao said, while addressing a routine briefing. “We urge the Indian side to work in the same direction as us and refrain from actions that might escalate or complicate the situation along the border.”
Zhao added that Beijing hoped that both sides will “take proper actions to manage their differences and take concrete actions to safeguard peace and stability along the border.”
In the last Corps Commander-level talks held in November, the two sides had agreed to ensure that their troops exercise restraint and avoid any misunderstanding and miscalculation along the Line of Actual Control. The discussion, however, remained inconclusive.
The standoff between the two countries has persisted since clashes in eastern Ladakh in June that killed 20 Indian soldiers. China is also believed to have suffered casualties, but has not given any details. Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.