No breakthrough at India-China diplomatic dialogue

New Delhi: India and China agreed on Friday to hold the next round of military-level talks at an early date to resolve the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh and create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in the bilateral ties, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

It was the only decision taken at a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on the India-China Border Affairs as there was no breakthrough to resolve the issues at the key friction points of Demchok and Depsang.

The MEA said the two sides agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues “at the earliest” so as to create conditions for the restoration of normalcy in the bilateral relations.

“To achieve the objective of resolution of remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, they agreed to hold the next (17th) round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date,” the MEA said in a statement.

Though the two sides disengaged from Patrolling Point 15 (PP-15) last month, there has been no progress on resolving the standoff in the Demchok and Depsang regions.

The MEA said the two sides reviewed the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.

Eastern Ladakh is officially referred to as the Western Sector.

India and China held a high-level military dialogue on July 17 that lasted for nearly 12 hours and a half.

In line with a decision taken at the meeting, the two sides carried out disengagement from Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area last month.

“Recalling the developments since the last meeting of WMCC in May, they welcomed the disengagement in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15) that was carried out in a phased, coordinated and verified manner between September 8-12,” the MEA said.

“They noted that these steps reflected the understandings between External Affairs Minister and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, including at their recent meeting in Bali in July,” it added.

India has been consistently maintaining that peace and tranquillity along the LAC are key for the overall development of the bilateral ties.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.

Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers and heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year on the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

The disengagement in the Pangong lake area took place in February last year, while the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Patrolling Point 17(A) in Gogra took place in August last year.

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