Eastern Ladakh row: India, China likely to hold 16th round of military talks on July 17

New Delhi: India and China are likely to hold the 16th round of high-level military talks on July 17 to resolve the issues in remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.

The last round of talks between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) took place on March 11.

In the fresh round of talks, the Indian side is expected to press for disengagement of troops as soon as possible in all the remaining friction points besides seeking resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.

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“The 16th round of Corps Commander-level talks are likely to take place on July 17,” said a source.

The situation in eastern Ladakh figured prominently in last week’s talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali.

At the one-hour meeting in Bali on the sidelines of a conclave of foreign ministers of the G20 nations, Jaishankar conveyed to Wang the need for early resolution of all the outstanding issues in eastern Ladakh.

He also said that the relationship between the two countries should be based on “three mutuals” — mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests.

“Recalling the disengagement achieved in some friction areas, the external affairs minister reiterated the need to sustain the momentum to complete disengagement from all the remaining areas to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The MEA further said that Jaishankar “reaffirmed the importance of fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols, and the understandings reached between the two ministers during their previous conversations”.

In May, India and China held diplomatic talks on the border row and agreed to hold the next round of the Senior Commanders’ meeting at an early date to achieve complete disengagement from all friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries 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 as well as heavy weaponry.

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

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector.

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