New Delhi: India and China failed to make headway in resolving the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh at the 13th round of military talks, with the Indian Army saying on Monday that the “constructive suggestions” made by it were not agreeable to the Chinese side. In a statement that indicated hardening of its position on the matter, the Army said the talks on Sunday did not result in resolution of the issues in remaining areas and that the Indian side emphasised that it expects the Chinese side to work towards it.
“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 Army said in a statement.
The talks took place at the Chushul-Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on Sunday and they lasted for around eight-and-half hours. The Chinese PLA's Western Theatre Command in a statement said, “India insisted on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations” and that China has made “tremendous efforts to ease and cool down the border situation and fully demonstrated its sincerity”.
The Indian Army said it pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by “unilateral attempts” by the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements. “The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements,” the Army said. “It was, therefore, necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western sector,” it said.
The Indian side also referred to the talks between the Chinese and Indian foreign ministers last month in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. “This would also be in accord with the guidance provided by the two foreign ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they had agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest,” the Indian Army said. “The Indian side emphasised such resolution of the remaining areas would facilitate progress in the bilateral relations,” it added.
The Army said the two sides have agreed to maintain communications and also stability on the ground. “It is our expectation that the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols,” it said.
It is learnt that the Indian side took up the stalled disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 (PP-15) as well as issues in Depsang.
The Chinese PLA statement added: “China's determination to safeguard sovereignty is unwavering, and China hopes India will not misjudge the situation and take actions with sincerity to safeguard the peace at the border.”
The talks took place in the backdrop of two recent incidents of attempted transgressions by the Chinese troops with one in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and another in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh around 10 days ago, and it was resolved within a few hours following talks between commanders of the two sides as per established protocols.
Close to 100 soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed the LAC in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand on August 30, and the Chinese troops returned from the area after spending a few hours. The two sides held the 12th round of talks on July 31. Days later, the two armies completed the disengagement process in Gogra, which was seen as a significant forward movement towards the restoration of peace and tranquility in the region.
On Saturday, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane said if the Chinese military continues with its large-scale deployment in the eastern Ladakh region, then the Indian Army too will maintain its strength on its side which he said is “as good as what the PLA has done”.