NEW DELHI, India, 23 January 2021
India and China are set to hold their ninth round of Corps Commander-level talks on Sunday with a focus on ways to move forward on the long-negotiated disengagement process in eastern Ladakh, according to official sources.
The military talks are slated to be held at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the sources said on Saturday.
The eighth and last round of military talks took place on 6 November during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.
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.
“The focus of the talks is going to be on the disengagement process,” said a source.
On 12 January, Army chief Gen MM Naravane had said that Indian troops will hold their ground as long as it takes to achieve the “national goals and objectives” even as he hoped for an amicable resolution of the prolonged standoff through talks. The standoff erupted on 5 May last.
Nearly 50,000 troops of the Indian Army are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete outcome to resolve the standoff. China has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.
Last month, India and China held another round of diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs. However, no concrete outcome emerged from the talks.
Following the sixth round of military talks on 21 September, the two sides had 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.
This round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on 10 September 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 LAC.