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China mum on border talks

There is a growing feeling that the PLA is working to establish a 'revised status quo' that will allow their army to hold on to its newly-acquired positions within India-claimed lines
Indian army trucks depart towards Ladakh amid stand off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh, at Manali-Leh highway in Kullu district
Indian army trucks depart towards Ladakh amid stand off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh, at Manali-Leh highway in Kullu district
PTI

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui   |   New Delhi   |   Published 08.01.21, 01:27 AM

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is said to have hardened its stand and continues to resist New Delhi’s demand for disengagement and de-escalation of troops from multiple friction points in Ladakh and wants India to accept the new Line of Actual Control, sources in the defence ministry said.

A ministry official said the PLA had also not been responding to India’s request for the ninth round of military talks between the two sides. It has been two months since India and China held the eighth round of military talks on November 6, which failed to achieve any breakthrough. Both sides had then agreed to continue the dialogue process to resolve the border standoff.

“The Chinese side is yet to agree to the ninth rounds of military talks that was supposed to take place by mid-November. They have hardened their stand and have not yet confirmed the dates for the corps commander-level meeting. We are still waiting for their confirmation,” the official said.

There is a growing feeling in the security establishment that the PLA is working to establish a “revised status quo” that will allow the Chinese army to hold on to its newly acquired positions within India-claimed lines.

Although there is no official word from either the government or the Indian Army on the specifics of the disengagement plan discussed during the eight round of talks, military veterans have questioned the Centre’s silence on the Indian demand for the restoration of status quo ante.

“It’s shocking that the government is no longer talking about our demand for restoration of status quo. It is high time the government comes clean on the specifics of the purported disengagement plan being discussed with the Chinese side,” said a veteran.

He pointed out that defence minister Rajnath Singh had last month spoken of China’s “unprovoked aggression” in eastern Ladakh but did not say where the two sides stood on disengagement.

Another veteran said: “Some media reports earlier had suggested that the Chinese side, during the eighth round of military talks, had indicated that India should accept the new status quo. The government’s silence on this is deafening.”

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a face-off at multiple points — the Pangong Lake, Hot Springs and the Depsang Plains — since May.

As many as 19 rounds of military and diplomatic talks have taken place since May but nothing much has changed on the ground, an official of the Intelligence Branch said.



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