India, China conduct 16th round of talks at LAC after 4-month gap
At more than four months, the gap between the 15th and 16th round of corps commander-level talks has been the longest ever since the standoff began in May 2020. The previous round of talks took place on March 11.
New Delhi: The Indian and Chinese armies on Sunday held the 16th round of talks to cool tensions at friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in the backdrop of outstanding problems at Patrol Point-15 near Kongka La, Depsang Bulge in Daulet Beg Oldi sector and Charding Nullah Junction (CNJ) in Demchok sector being a sticking point in the ongoing negotiations, officials familiar with the matter said.
The talks began at 9.30am on the Indian side of the Chushul-Moldo meeting point and went on till 10pm, lasting more than 12 hours. The latest military dialogue also came on the back of the Indian Air Force noticing Chinese air activity near LAC, with IAF chief saying that the air force was scrambling fighter jets whenever Chinese aircraft or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) came close to the border.
The two sides could issue a joint statement on the talks in a day or two, the officials said.
At more than four months, the gap between the 15th and 16th round of corps commander-level talks has been the longest ever since the standoff began in May 2020. The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held the 15th round of talks on March 11.
Despite disengagement of soldiers from Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs area, the two sides still have around 60,000 troops each and advanced weaponry deployed in the Ladakh theatre. The two armies held eight rounds of talks in 2020 with the first held in June of that year, five rounds in 2021, and have held three rounds of talks so far this year.
The border standoff between India and China, which has cast a shadow over the bilateral relationship, entered its third year in May 2022. A full resolution is still not in sight even though the two sides have had limited success in disengaging rival soldiers from some flashpoints.
India had on July 7 sought an early resolution of all outstanding issues on LAC, with external affairs minister S Jaishankar pressing his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to complete the disengagement of troops in order to restore peace and tranquillity in border areas.
In May, army chief General Manoj Pande said that the Army aimed to “re-establish trust and tranquility” with PLA, but cautioned that “it can’t be a one-way affair”.