Once again, there was no concrete breakthrough in resolving the border stand-off at Depsang Plains and Demchok in eastern Ladakh, despite the recent round of top-level military talks held with China after nearly four months.
China declined to restore the patrolling rights of Indian soldiers at the strategically situated Depsang Plains, which leads towards the crucial Daulat Beg Oldie and Karakoram Pass in the north, as well as the Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction near Demchok.
Though the 19th round of corps commander-level dialogue at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point held on Sunday (13 August) and Monday did not yield immediate progress, sources indicated that the talks were "more positive than the preceding rounds."
There was "some degree of agreement to proceed" in enhancing confidence-building measures and avoiding any escalation of force levels along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
This sentiment was also echoed in a joint statement issued by both sides on Tuesday (15 August), in contrast to separate statements after the 18th round on 23 April.
The joint statement highlighted India and China's commitment to resolve outstanding issues promptly and sustain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations via military and diplomatic channels.
"In the interim, both sides agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity on the ground in the border regions," the statement said.
They engaged in a constructive discussion on resolving remaining issues along the LAC's western sector, guided by leadership and in open and forward-looking manner.
India has been persistently urging for troop disengagement at Depsang and Demchok, as the first step towards eventual de-escalation and withdrawal of the more than 50,000 soldiers, each positioned by both armies with substantial weapon systems along the eastern Ladakh frontier for over three years.
The military discussions were held in advance of the BRICS summit in South Africa between 22-24 August , where both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will participate.
Furthermore, Xi is scheduled to visit India for the G20 summit during 9-10 September.
The affirmations in Tuesday (15 August)'s joint statement mirrored those made in previous rounds.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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