LAC: China 'not agreeable' to withdraw troops at friction points
The Chinese army is “not agreeable” to withdrawing from India-claimed territory at the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said on Monday.
The 13th round of India-China military talks held on Sunday “thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas”, the Indian Army added. An Indian defence ministry official said in private that Sunday’s talks had “collapsed”.
Beijing too indicated that the talks had failed, with a Chinese army statement saying: “The Indian side still persisted in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations.”
In a statement on Monday, the Indian Army said: “During the meeting, the Indian side, therefore, made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals. The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas.
“The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements. It was, therefore, necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquillity....”
The two countries’ foreign ministers too had at their recent meeting in Dushanbe agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest.
A statement from Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson for the Chinese army’s Western Theatre Command, said: “During the meeting, the Chinese side made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated China’s sincerity of maintaining overall interests of bilateral military relations. However, the Indian side still persisted in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations.”
It added: “China is firm in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty. The Indian side should abide by the relevant agreements and consensus reached between the two countries and two militaries, show sincerity and take concrete actions to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas with China.”
Responding to China’s statement, military veteran Pravin Sawhney said in a tweet: “India’s demand of PLA going back to April 2020 positions is unacceptable to China — so the stalemate will continue with serious implications for India’s sovereignty.”
India and China have been locked in a border standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since May 5 last year. The Chinese are estimated to have taken over close to 1,000sqkm of India-claimed territory.
So far, the Chinese have disengaged “partially” in the Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake and Gogra while remaining well within India-claimed lines, but have refused to disengage from the Depsang Plains and Hot Springs.
A security official attached to the Union home ministry said the Chinese appeared “adamant” at Sunday’s talks about not restoring the status quo of April 2020.
A defence ministry official said the Chinese were “sticking to their stand that the occupied zones are their territory and that Indian troops should move further back as a precondition for disengagement”.
An Indian Army officer said the Chinese were working to establish a “revised status quo”. He accused Beijing of going back on its word to disengage from the remaining friction points in Ladakh.
Sunday’s talks took place against the backdrop of two recent border transgressions by the Chinese army, in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh.
Ahead of the talks, Indian army chief M.M. Naravane had on Saturday said the continued Chinese build-up in eastern Ladakh was “a matter of concern” and implied that “they are there to stay”.