There was no breakthrough in the 14th round of talks between the militaries of India and China, and the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue via military and diplomatic channels to work out a “mutually acceptable resolution” of the remaining issues.
The two sides said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have agreed that the next round of border talks should be held at the earliest.
Indian Army Chief General M M Naravane had said on Wednesday that India was hopeful of resolving issues related to disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 (Hot Springs) in eastern Ladakh in the 14th round of talks.
The latest round of talks took place days after India hit out at China for building a bridge across Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh and said it is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of that country for around 60 years.
The 14th round of Corps Commander-level meeting was held on Wednesday at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The joint statement said that the representatives from the defence and foreign affairs establishments of the two sides were present at the talks.
There was a “frank and in-depth” exchange of views for the resolution of the relevant issues related to the LAC in the western sector (Ladakh border), it said.
The two countries agreed that both of them should follow “the guidance provided by the state leaders” and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, according to the statement.
“It was noted that this would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations,” it mentioned.
The two countries also agreed to consolidate on the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector including during winter, it said.
“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,” it mentioned.
The two sides agreed that the next round of the commanders’ talks should be held at the earliest, the statement said.
Along with Hot Springs, India has been talking with China about a quick disengagement on all the remaining friction points including resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.
Last week, India described China’s renaming of some places in Arunachal Pradesh as a “ridiculous exercise” to support “untenable territorial” claims, asserting that the state has always been and will always remain an “inalienable” part of India.
In their virtual diplomatic talks on November 18 last year, India and China had agreed to hold the 14th round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The 13th round of talks had taken place on October 10 last year and it had ended in a stalemate with the Indian Army saying after the dialogue that the “constructive suggestions” made by it were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor it could provide any “forward-looking” proposals.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake area. 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 Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.