India, China Fail To Resolve Remaining Issues In Eastern Ladakh At 15th Round Of Military Talks, Agree To Maintain Dialogue
India and China could not make any significant headway in resolving the outstanding issues on the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh at the 15th round of military talks but agreed to maintain the dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable resolution at the earliest.
A day after the nearly 13-hour meeting, the two sides in a joint statement on Saturday reaffirmed that such a resolution would help restore peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and facilitate progress in bilateral relations.
The 15th round of Corps-Commander level talks took place at the Chushul-Moldo border point on the Indian side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh on Friday.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said the talks failed to yield any significant outcome.
'They reaffirmed that such a resolution would help restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Western Sector and facilitate progress in bilateral relations,' the joint statement, released simultaneously in Delhi and Beijing, said.
The government refers to eastern Ladakh as Western Sector.
'The two sides also agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector in the interim. They agreed to maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,' it said.
The previous round of talks had taken place on January 12 and it too had failed to make any progress in resolving the outstanding issues.
'The two sides carried forward their discussions from the previous round held on January 12 for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector,' the joint statement said 'They had a detailed exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the State Leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,' it said.
The sources said India strongly pressed for early disengagement of troops in remaining friction points including resolution of pending issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.
The main focus of the talks was the completion of the stalled disengagement process in the Hot Springs (Patrolling Point-15) areas, they said.
The affirmation in the statement that resolution of the outstanding issues would facilitate progress in bilateral relations appeared to be a reflection of India's consistent position on overall ties between the two sides.
India has been maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC was key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.
This position was again emphasised by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday.
'We have made it clear to China that peace and tranquillity in the border areas is essential for the development of our relationship. Development of India-China relationship has to be based on 'three mutuals' -- mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest,' Shringla said.
The Indian delegation at the talks on Friday was led by Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta, the Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.
The 14th round of talks too had failed to make any headway in resolving the row in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
'The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,' a joint statement issued after the 14th round of talks had said.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without any modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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