Ladakh standoff: 8th round of Sino-India Corps Commander-level talks likely on Nov 6
New Delhi: The eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China is likely to take place on Friday with an aim to carry forward negotiations on the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh as their troops brace for a harsh winter, official sources said.
There was no breakthrough on the disengagement of troops from the friction points in eastern Ladakh during the seventh round of military talks on October 12.
“The eighth round of military talks is likely to take place on Friday,” said a source on Tuesday.
The standoff between the two sides erupted in early May.
Temperatures drop to minus 25 degrees Celsius during winter months in the high altitude areas.
Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the ties between India and China have come under “severe stress” and that the agreements inked by both sides on management of the border must be respected “scrupulously” in their “entirety” to restore normalcy in relations.
The Indian delegation at the eighth round of military talks will be led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the newly-appointed Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.
A joint press statement by the two armies after the last round of talks said both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement “as early as possible”.
India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.
Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.
The sixth round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) conclave.
The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated following at least three attempts by Chinese soldiers to “intimidate” Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area between August 29 and September 08 where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.
As tensions escalated further, the foreign ministers of India and China held talks in Moscow on September 10 where they reached the five-point agreement to defuse the situation in eastern Ladakh.
“China has noted Pak move to accord provincial status to GB”
Beijing: China on Wednesday said it has “noted” the recent move by Pakistan to accord ‘provisional provincial status’ to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (PaK).
On Sunday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government has decided to accord a “provisional provincial status to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of PaK.
Reacting to Khan’s remarks, spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava said in New Delhi that India “firmly rejects” the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory which is under Islamabad’s “illegal and forcible occupation” and asked the neighbouring country to immediately vacate such areas.
Asked for his reaction to Pakistan’s decision on Gilgit-Baltistan and India’s reaction to it at a media briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “we have noted relevant reports”.
“China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear. It is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan. It should be resolved peacefully and properly according to the UN charter, relevant security council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” he said.
To a follow-up question referring to China’s protest to India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 last year and whether Beijing’s silence on Pakistan’s move on Gilgit-Baltistan ran counter to China’s claim on adopting a neutral approach on Kashmir issue, Wang said it was not a valid statement.
“I don’t think that’s a valid statement. As I said just now, China’s position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear,” he said.
He also reiterated that interested countries can join USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Asked to name the countries who had shown interest to join the project, Wang said, “as we have repeatedly said that the CPEC and other projects under the BRI are open and we welcome interested countries to join such cooperation to jointly contribute to regional and global stability and prosperity.”
India has protested to China over the CPEC project as it is being laid through PaK.