India, China hold high-level talks amid standoff in eastern Ladakh

The talks were requested by India and will be held in the Indian Border Point Meeting hut in Chushul-Moldo on the Chinese side

Over the last few weeks, Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a major standoff. Representational image: PTI

India and China held high-level talks on Saturday (June 6) morning in another significant attempt to resolve the standoff between militaries of the two countries near eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) over the past few weeks.

Without specifically mentioning the talks, an Indian Army spokesperson said, “Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas.”

The talks were requested by India and held in the Indian Border Point Meeting hut in Chushul-Moldo on the Chinese side.

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The discussion began with an informal meeting, followed by a breakfast event. The formal delegation-level talks commenced after the breakfast event.

The meeting was supposed to begin at 8.30 am, but was postponed to 11.30 am.

The Indian delegation will include Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, and the Commander of 14 Corps, and 10 other officers who took part in the talks held earlier.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side will be headed by Major General Lin Liu, Corps Commander, South Xinjiang Military Division, and include 10 other officers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who participated in previous talks.

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The Indian delegation is expected to press for restoration of the previously existing state of affairs in all areas of eastern Ladakh, oppose the huge build-up of Chinese troops in the region, and ask Beijing not to oppose infrastructure development by India on its side of the de-facto border.

This comes after the foreign ministry officials of both countries discussed on Friday (June 5) the escalating tensions amid India and China over the border dispute.

The Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement that during Friday’s meeting, both sides agreed that, in accordance with the guidance provided by their leadership, they “should handle their differences through peaceful discussion bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes.”

The two sides have already held at least 12 rounds of local-level talks among regional military commanders, and three rounds of talks between major general-rank officials, but have not made any progress so far.

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The border dispute came into focus when soldiers from both countries along the LoAC near Pangong Lake engaged in arm-to-arm combat a few weeks ago on May 5 and 6. Tensions have been mounting ever since, with China reportedly bringing in 2,500 more troops and recording increased activity along the area, including allegedly enhancing temporary defence infrastructure and weaponry, and upgrading a military airbase around 180 km from the Pangong Tso area.

China has also been opposing India’s plan to lay a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake and the construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

The road in the Finger area in Pangong Tso is considered crucial for India to carry out patrol.

India has established that it would not stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of China’s protests.

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