A new round of talks was held by India and China on Friday, aimed at ending the biggest confrontation between their troops along the Himalayan border. The officials have agreed to work towards early disengagement.
The diplomats held the 20th meeting of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs, to review developments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the neighboring states.
They agreed to “continue to work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector at the earliest,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said of the talks.
It also stressed that meetings of senior commanders in October and November “had also contributed to ensuring stability on the ground.”
The ministry said the next meeting of commanders “should be held at an early date” so the two nations can work to “fully restore peace and tranquility,” by totally disengaging their respective military forces along the contested border region.
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed at the Himalayan border by Chinese troops when a skirmish broke out between them. Beijing has not disclosed any injuries or casualties among the Chinese contingent. Since then, the two countries have sent tens of thousands of troops to the border between India’s Ladakh region and the Chinese-held Tibetan plateau.
The border standoff began in early May, and despite New Delhi’s positive-sounding statement on Friday, no breakthrough in the talks has been announced so far. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said a week ago that the situation “has been a result of the actions of the Chinese side which has sought to effect a unilateral change in status along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.”
That statement came after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on December 10 that “the responsibility [for border tensions] lies squarely with the Indian side.” But she added that China is “committed to resolving the boundary issue through negotiation.”
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