India, China agree to resolve issues in eastern Ladakh expeditiously
The Indian and Chinese armies on Monday described as "constructive" the 12th round of military talks on the eastern Ladakh row during which they agreed to resolve the pending issues in an "expeditious" manner, even as no concrete outcome came out of the negotiations on the much-anticipated disengagement process in the remaining friction points.
A joint statement released here by the Indian Army, two days after the talks, said the two sides had a "candid and in-depth exchange" of views relating to the disengagement and that the meeting further enhanced mutual understanding.
People familiar with the talks said some forward movement was made on the disengagement in the friction points of Hot Springs and Gogra and both sides will discuss about a detailed plan on it in the next round of talks.
The joint statement said the two sides agreed to resolve the remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations.
Top commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies held a nine-hour meeting on Saturday with a focus on the disengagement process in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
"The two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector of India-China border areas," the statement said.
"The two sides noted that this round of meeting was constructive, which further enhanced mutual understanding. They agreed to resolve these remaining issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols and maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiations," it said.
The government usually refers to the eastern Ladakh region as Western Sector.
The two sides also agreed that in the interim they will continue their effective efforts in ensuring stability along the LAC in the Western Sector and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity, the statement said.
During the talks on Saturday, India insisted on resolving outstanding issues in Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang.
Ahead of the talks, sources in the military establishment had said that India was hopeful of a positive outcome on the disengagement process.
India has been insisting that the resolution of the outstanding issues, including at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra, is essential for the overall ties between the two countries.
The latest round of the meeting was held following talks between foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Dushanbe on July 14 on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
During the meeting, Jaishankar had told Wang that any unilateral change in the status quo along the LAC was "not acceptable" to India and that the overall ties can only develop after full restoration of peace and tranquillity in eastern Ladakh.
The two sides had also held diplomatic talks under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) on June 25.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February in line with an agreement on disengagement.