India, China Agree To Take Talks Beyond Pangong For The Settlement

India and China have agreed to take talks on the boundary issues beyond the current flashpoint of the Pangong lake and vowed to push for the settlement of other outstanding issues in the border areas of Ladakh.

The eighth round of corps commander-level meeting on Friday has been followed by a joint statement with both nations agreeing to maintain dialogue and to ensure that forward troops exercise restraint to avoid any flare-up.

“India and China agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and, taking forward the discussions at this meeting, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” said the joint statement.

Talks have lately focused on developments around Pangong Tso, where China moved first in early May to occupy the Finger area – a set of heights along the northern bank of the lake that has been disputed and were patrolled by both countries in the past. The last few rounds of talks have seen PLA raise a concern about Indian forward deployments in the Chushul sector, along the southern bank of the lake.

Sources said that an understanding has been reached that developments at Pangong cannot be delinked with other flashpoints in eastern Ladakh, like the disputed Depsang plains where PLA troops have been blocking Indian soldiers from patrolling to traditional points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since tensions started in May.

India has not been aggressively pressing troops to the patrolling points – China has placed a virtual roadblock at a feature named bottleneck that gives access to these points – to avoid an escalation of tensions.

The joint statement reflected the view that tensions should not be allowed to flare-up. “The two sides had a candid, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas. Both sides agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, ensure their frontline troops to exercise restraint and avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation,” the statement said.

However, deep mistrust remains on the border after the deadly clash at Galwan on June 15 and PLA actions in the Chushul sector in late August to advance to vantage heights. The Indian Army has been varying of border confidence-building measures suggested by the Chinese side as the incident showed that actions on the ground by the PLA do not reflect the talks conducted by senior commanders.

The Economic Times

Shankul Bhandare

Hello, I am shankul and I love defence research and development and want to spread it through blogging.

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