India, China diplomats hold in-person talks in New Delhi to discuss Eastern Ladakh rowtext_fields
New Delhi: India and China conducted in-person diplomatic talks here on Wednesday in a "frank and open manner" where they reviewed options for disengagement in the last remaining hotspots along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in order to achieve the goal of restoring peace and tranquilly in the border areas, both parties have agreed to hold the 19th round of high-level military negotiations.
The meeting took place under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)
The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh even as the two sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks.
"The two sides reviewed the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas and discussed proposals for disengagement in remaining areas in a frank and open manner," it said.
"Restoration of peace and tranquillity will create conditions for normalising bilateral relations," the MEA said.
"In order to achieve this objective, in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and protocols, they agreed to hold the next (19th) round of Senior Commander's meeting at an early date," it said in a statement.
The MEA said the two sides agreed to continue discussions through military and diplomatic channels.
It was the 27th meeting of the WMCC. The previous WMCC meeting was held in Beijing on February 22.
The Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs led the Indian delegation.
The Chinese side was led by the Director General of the Boundary and Oceanic Affairs Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The 18th round of high-level military talks between the two sides were held on April 23 during which they agreed to stay in close touch and work out a mutually acceptable solution to the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the earliest.
Days later, Chinese defence minister Li Shangfu visited India to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
On the sidelines of the SCO meeting, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a nearly 45-minute bilateral meeting with Li.
In the talks, Singh told his Chinese counterpart that China's violation of existing border agreements "eroded" the entire basis of ties between the two countries and that all issues relating to the frontier must be resolved in accordance with the existing pacts.
On May 4, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang the importance of resolving the eastern Ladakh border row and ensuring peace and tranquillity along the LAC for the development of bilateral ties.
A day after the talks Jaishankar had said at a media briefing that the situation along the border in eastern Ladakh is "abnormal" and India-China relations cannot be normal if peace and tranquillity in border areas is disturbed.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong Lake area.
The ties between the two countries nosedived significantly following the fierce clash in the Galwan Valley in June 2020 that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides in decades.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in 2021 on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake and in the Gogra area.
With PTI inputs