Timeline | India-China hold 14th round of military talks with disengagement at Hot Spring on agenda
Wednesday’s meeting held at the Chushul-Moldo point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh was held to resolve the border standoff that began in May 2020
India held its 14th round military talks with China on Wednesday in which it pressed for an early disengagement of troops in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
Wednesday’s discussions took place at the Chushul-Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
The series of meets between the two sides, which began in June of 2020, is a result of a 20-month standoff between the two countries, who are seeking to address issues associated with disengagement at pending friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the region.
We take a look at what has taken place from the first round of talks to the present scenario.
First round of talks
A meeting held between the divisional commanders of Indian and Chinese armies was called on 18 June 2020 near the site of the violent clash in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. However, these talks ended in a stalemate.
The talks came a few days after the clash in Galwan Valley — the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their clash in Nathu La in 1967 when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the confrontation.
What followed next?
Unable to take anything positive from the first round of talks, India and China both began ramping up their presence in the Eastern Ladakh area; heavy deployment of troops began in the area.
China also began ramping up its infrastructure in the areas, by building bunkers and deploying heavy weaponry.
A News18 report states that tensions escalated in the region after Indian troops foiled attempts by Chinese military to occupy Indian territories in the southern bank of Pangong lake area on the intervening night of 29-30 August.
Following the confrontation, India occupied a number of strategic heights in the Chushul sector overlooking crucial bases of the Chinese military.
Military and diplomatic talks continued, bearing no positive results.
However, during their ninth level of talks — on 24 January 2021 held at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — India and China agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops.
Subsequently, Chinese and Indian troops on the southern and northern shores of Pangong Tso began synchronised and organised disengagement.
Speaking on the same, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said in the Rajya Sabha that troops from both sides have started disengaging from the Pangong Tso area in eastern Ladakh.
He explained that “China would pull its troops on the north bank towards the east of Finger 8. Similarly, India will also position its forces at its permanent base at the Dhan Singh Thapa post near Finger 3. Similar action will be taken by both the parties in the south bank area as well”.
Both sides also agreed that the area between Finger 3 and Finger 8 will become a no-patrolling zone temporarily, till both sides reach an agreement through military and diplomatic discussions to restore patrolling.
Additionally, all the construction done by both sides on the north and south banks of the lake since April 2020 will be removed.
Focus shifts to Gogra Heights and Hot Springs
After a successful disengagement at the Pangong Tso area in eastern Ladakh, the focus quickly shifted to the Gogra and Hot Springs area of eastern Ladakh.
It was the main agenda during the twelfth round of talks between the two sides in July of 2021. It was after this meet that India and China decided to disengage troops from Gogra Heights in eastern Ladakh. However, a mutual consensus on Hot Springs — a friction point in eastern Ladakh — was not achieved.
The 13th round of talks in October last year saw a sharp exchange of words, a departure from the past since the two sides had been issuing joint statements, displaying a common understanding of the meeting outcomes.
Please read: India-China border row: Breakdown in talks shows Beijing doesn't want to stop its expansionist policy
It was then that the Indian Army put out a statement, saying, “the Indian side made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable to them and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals.
"The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas."
The Army said the Indian side 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 bilateral agreements.
"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," the Army said.
The Indian delegation also emphasised that a resolution of the remaining issues would facilitate progress in bilateral relations.
14th round of talks
On 12 January, India and China held their 14th round of Corps Commander-level talks.
Sources, according to a PTI report, said that the main focus of the talks was to carry forward the disengagement process at Hot Springs (Patrolling Point 15).
The Indian side also insisted on disengagement as soon as possible in all the remaining friction points including resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.
The fresh talks are being held after India hit out at China for building a bridge across Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh and said it is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of that country for around 60 years.
Last week, India also described China's renaming of some places in Arunachal Pradesh as a "ridiculous exercise" to support "untenable territorial" claims, asserting that the state has always been and will always remain an "inalienable" part of India.
With inputs from agencies
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