India, China border talks have reportedly been positive after Indian and Chinese armies held Lieutenant General-level talks in their first major attempt to resolve the month-long border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
There was no official word on the result of the meeting between the Indian delegation led by 14 Corps commander Lt-General Harinder Singh and the Chinese side headed by South Xinjiang Military District commander Major General Liu Lin.
The talks were held at the Border Personnel Meeting Point in Maldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Indian Army spokesperson confirmed that Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas.
Saturday’s meeting took place after 12 rounds of talks between local commanders of the two armies and three rounds of discussions at the level of major general-rank officials could not produce any tangible outcome, the sources said.
Unnamed sources quoted by TOI claim that the meeting was “positive” and could ultimately lead to the restoration of status quo in eastern Ladakh, with both India and China removing soldiers and heavy military equipment from Pangong Tso, Gogra-Hot Springs area and Galwan Valley region in a phased manner.
Prior to the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs had issued a statement stressing diplomatic channels as a way to peacefully resolve the border tension in the Ladakh region. Senior officials of the government echoed similar voices as they interacted with the Chinese counterparts via video call.
Earlier, sources had said the Indian delegation at the military talks will press for the restoration of status quo ante in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra in eastern Ladakh, oppose huge build-up of Chinese troops in the region and ask China not to resist the development of infrastructure by India on its side of the de-facto border.
According to the Global Times, a Chinese mouthpiece, analysts in Beijing agreed on resolving the matter peacefully. While they said that they want “good-neighbourly relations” with New Delhi, they also said that Beijing will not give up an inch of territory.
They also warned India to not be ‘fooled’ by Washington as the US is only trying to “serve its own strategic interest”. “Washington is keen on placing a wedge between countries and drawing countries to its own side. But this serves the US’ strategic pressure on China, instead of other countries’ geopolitical interests,” it said.
India and China have been engaged in a standoff in Ladakh for a month now. As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, the situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in North Sikkim on May 9.
Since then, both countries have been involved in a massive troop build-up and have ramped up construction of military infrastructure in the area. Arms and ammunition also have been brought in with air force of both countries patrolling the border. To many, the standoff is reminiscent of Doklam in 2017.