Monday, January 18, 2021

Ahead Of India-China Border Talks, Beijing Says PLA Troops Have Pulled Back

As India-China border talks are headed for the fifth round, Beijing claims that border troops of both countries “have disengaged in most localities” following close communication via military and diplomatic channels and the ground situation at the LAC was easing.

India, in the last round of border negotiations, had emphasised the need for early and complete disengagement along the LAC and de-escalation in border areas. China had claimed “positive progress” in the talks. The area along Pangong lake and Depsang area remain contested.

As border troops have disengaged in most of the locations, the situation on the ground is de-escalating and the temperature is coming down,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in Beijing.

There was no official confirmation or response from either the Indian government to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s statement ahead of the fifth round of talks. An agency report from Beijing quoted government sources to say India had denied it.

The Chinese hesitation to withdraw from Pangong Tso has hindered the disengagement process and it is likely to be the focus of talks between the Corps Commanders meeting. The military standoff began early May after Chinese and Indian troops came to face to face on the north bank of the lake and exchanged blows.

“As border troops have disengaged in most localities, the situation on the ground is de-escalating and the temperature is coming down. Currently, the two sides are actively preparing for the fifth round of commander-level talks to resolve outstanding issues on the ground. We hope the Indian side will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides’ consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquillity along the border.”

The India-China corps commander meeting is set for the fifth round – they have met four times since June 6 — to negotiate the disengagement process at Pangong Tso and Patrolling Point 17A at Gogra. At PP 14 (Galwan Valley) and PP 15 (Hot Springs), the two other friction points, disengagement has already taken place.

In Pangong Tso, Chinese soldiers had come up to Finger 4 on the north bank, 8 km west of Finger 8 which India says marks the LAC. As part of the disengagement talks, the Chinese departed the Finger 4 base area and headed towards Finger 5. But they still occupy positions on the ridgeline at Finger 4.

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