New Delhi: India on Saturday called for early withdrawal of troops and weapons in hot springs, Gogra and other remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh during the 12th round of military talks with China.
News agency PTI quoted sources in the security establishment as saying that the military talks to move forward on the disengagement process in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh lasted for nearly nine hours.
The Indian delegation is led by Leh-based XIV Corps chief Lt Gen PGK Menon and Additional Secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava in the Ministry of External Affairs.
On the other hand, the Chinese military delegation is led by Xu Qing, commander of the PLA’s Western Theater Command, who was appointed earlier this month.
The sources, without giving details, told the agency that the two sides held detailed discussions and the talks were extensive.
So far, neither India nor China has issued any official comment on the outcome of the meeting at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. A breakthrough was expected to be reached in the dissolution process at Gogra and Hot Springs.
The two sides are understood to have discussed “specific details of the calm disposition in the remaining friction points, including proceeding with the dismantling process” and jointly agreed to maintain stability on the ground.
The report said that the talks started at 10:30 am and ended at 7:30 pm.
A PTI source said the Indian side pressed for an early resolution of the standoff and insisted on early dissolution, especially at Hot Springs and Gogra.
Before the talks, it was said that India was expecting a positive outcome on the dissolution process.
Previous developments in India-China talks
India has been emphasizing that the resolution of outstanding issues including Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra is essential for overall relations between the two countries.
The 12th round of talks took place after a gap of three and a half months as the 11th round of military talks took place on April 9 at the Chushul border point on the Indian side of the LAC and lasted for about 13 hours.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar strongly conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the prolongation of the 14-month standoff and the current situation in eastern Ladakh is impacting bilateral ties “in a negative way”.
The two foreign ministers had a one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Tajik capital city of Dushanbe on July 14.
In the meeting, EAM Jaishankar stressed that any unilateral change in status quo along the LAC was “not acceptable” to India and that overall relations could develop only after complete restoration of peace and tranquility in eastern Ladakh.
In military talks held in April, the two sides discussed ways to advance the demilitarization process in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang, with the larger aim of de-escalating tensions in the region. But there was no further movement in the dissolution process after that.
The border standoff between India and China began in May last year after violent clashes in the Pangong Lake areas and both sides gradually increased their deployment of thousands of troops as well as heavy weapons.
To resolve border tensions, a series of military and diplomatic talks have been held by the two sides as they completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south shores of Pangong Lake in February in line with an agreement.
At present, each side has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive area.