A third flag meeting between Indian and Chinese commanders in eastern Ladakh did not yield any immediate result, but diplomatic and defence sources said efforts were moving in the right direction to resolve the issue.
The sources said a breakthrough was still possible before external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s May 9 visit to China.
Earlier, the sources had maintained that the third flag meeting after the April 15 incursion by Chinese troops would take place only after broad contours of a resolution had been worked out at the diplomatic level.
It is learnt that China repeated its demand that the Indian Army freeze military and infrastructure build-up, particularly in Fukche and Chumar sector, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as a pre-requisite for roll-back of the 16-day old PLA incursion in Depsang Plains.
The Chinese contention is that some of these build-ups are in violation of protocols that govern borders that have not been mutually delineated.
The meeting was held at the senior colonel level some 25 kilometers outside Chushul even as the Indian military has built counter-pressure points to ensure that status quo ante is restored by Chinese PLA. There will be yet another meeting at this level on May 1, but that takes place every year, and is unlinked to the current problem.
Meanwhile, defence minister AK Antony on Tuesday said India would take every possible step to defend its interests.
Amid China’s claims that its soldiers had not crossed into the Indian side of line of actual control (LAC), Antony said the current situation — the 19-km deep incursion in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector — was not “one of our creation.”
The minister said top initiatives to safeguard India’s borders included building border roads and advance landing grounds to support troops.
Antony said bilateral relations with China were sometimes, bedeviled by border issues, and the recent developments were no exception.