An arrangement on holding the next discussions between senior military commanders at an early date, from the latest round of diplomatic talks on the border stand-off in the Ladakh Sector on Thursday, India and China has emerged with little to show, as said by official sources.
With regards to the above, along with the lack of forward movement on disengagement at fiction points such as Hot springs and Depsang, against a backdrop of growing evidence of China in building the infrastructure and villages in the disputed sections of the line of actual control (LAC), the virtual meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs was thereby held.
Aim for complete disengagement
In accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, in order to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the line of actual control in the Western Sector, both sides have agreed that the next round of the senior commanders meeting at an early date should be held, as said by the external affairs ministry in a statement after the working mechanism for consultation and coordination meeting.
The discussions at the WMCC meeting were described as candid and in-depth by both sides.
According to sources, as Beijing contended that New Delhi had made reasonable and unrealistic demands, any substantive progress was failed to be made at the last round of talks which was held between the senior military commanders at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on 10th October 2021.
In order to further ease the border situation along with striving to shift from emergency response to normalised control, the two sides shall continue to work hard for the same as soon as possible, as said by the Chinese readout. The shift from “emergency response” to “normalised control” was a repeat of what the Chinese foreign minister had told his Indian counterpart during a meeting in Dushanbe in September.
The agreement between the Chinese foreign minister and his Indian counterpart during the meeting in the Dushanbe was recalled by the two sides, as said by the Indian statement, that in order to resolve the remaining issues along the line of actual control, discussions should be continued by the military and diplomatic officials.
For restoring peace and tranquillity, while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols for the same, developments since the meeting of the military commanders on October 10 was also reviewed by them along with agreeing on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues in Eastern Ladakh, as said by the Indian statement.
The statement further added that along with avoiding any untoward incident, a stable ground situation will also be ensured by the two sides who have agreed upon the same.
Being Fair and Square
With avoiding recurrences in the current situation, strictly abiding by agreements and consensus, the existing disengagement results shall be consolidated by the two sides as agreed by them, according to the Chinese readout.
While the Chinese delegation was headed by the director of the boundary and oceanic department of the Foreign Ministry, the Indian side was led by the additional secretary (East Asia) of the external affairs ministry at the WMCC meeting.
After several rounds of diplomatic and military talks, the Frontline troops from the north and the South banks of Pangong Lake were withdrawn by India and China in February and from Gogra in August but no further movement on disengagement and de-escalation has been since then. Sending bilateral ties plummeting to their worst in decades, the two sides have been locked in the military standoff for more than 18 months.
Only when the disengagement is completed at other friction points such as Hot Springs and Does, the Indian side has insisted relations can be then normalised. China on the other hand had pushed for de-linking the standoff from the overall bilateral relationship and greater contacts in areas such as investment and trade.