Indian and Chinese military commanders agreed to peacefully resolve the current border issue in eastern Ladakh in accordance with bilateral pacts as well as the agreement reached between leadership of the two countries, the External Affairs Ministry said on Sunday (June 7).
The two sides held high-level military talks on Saturday (June 6) in an attempt to resolve the month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh.
“Both sides agreed to peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements and keeping in view the agreement between the leaders that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border regions is essential for the overall development of bilateral relations, the MEA said in a brief statement.
“Both sides also noted that this year marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and agreed that an early resolution would contribute to the further development of the relationship,” the MEA said.
“Accordingly, the two sides will continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” it said.
The talks took place at the Border Personnel Meeting Point in Maldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in Chushul sector.
The discussion began with an informal meeting, followed by a breakfast event. The formal delegation-level talks commenced after the breakfast event.
The Indian delegation included 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 was 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.
Before the meeting, the Indian delegation was 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.
The two sides had 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 did not made any progress with those.
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.
(With inputs from agencies)