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India-China Agree To Hold Military Discussions At Early Date

The only decision that came out of the latest round of diplomatic negotiations between India and China on the protracted impasse along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was to schedule the next round of talks between military commanders for “at an early date.”

According to a statement from the external affairs ministry, the 27th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on China-India border problems was held in person in New Delhi.

The statement said: “In order to achieve this objective, in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and protocols, they agreed to hold the next (19th) round of Senior Commanders’ meeting at an early time.” It also noted that restoring peace and tranquilly will “create conditions for normalising bilateral relations.”

India-China relations are at their lowest point in six decades as a result of the military standoff on the LAC, which is now in its fourth year. A fierce confrontation at Galwan Valley in June 2020, shortly after the standoff came into the open, resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese forces.

Foreign Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has maintained that ties cannot be normalised until peace and tranquilly are restored along the LAC, despite pleas from the Chinese side for the border dispute to be put in its “appropriate place” in bilateral relations.

During the WMCC meeting, the two sides “reviewed the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas and discussed proposals for disengagement in remaining areas in a frank and open manner”, the statement said.

“Restoration of peace and tranquillity will create conditions for normalising bilateral relations,” the statement said.

The two parties also decided to carry on their talks through diplomatic and military channels.

The Chinese team was led by the director general of the boundary and oceanic affairs department of the foreign ministry, while the Indian mission was led by the joint secretary (East Asia) of the external affairs ministry.

The 18th round of senior commanders’ talks between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China took place on April 23 in an effort to reduce tensions along the LAC.

The two parties had previously conducted talks between the corps commanders in December 2022 to go over unresolved boundary concerns.

The Indian and Chinese forces continue to have more than 60,000 soldiers each and cutting-edge equipment deployed in the Ladakh theatre despite four rounds of disengagement of frontline troops in Galwan Valley, Pangong Lake, Gogra, and Hot Springs.

Depsang and Demchok stand out among the remaining areas of conflict along the LAC.

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