New Delhi: Coming close on the heels of two attempts of transgressions made by China in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, the 13th round of border talks between corps commanders held on October 10 had its significance.
The talks held on Sunday at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC lasted for about nine hours. It was held over two months after the last round of talks that led to the disengagement of forward-deployed troops from Gogra or Patrol Point-17A, one of the flashpoints on LAC.
Recently, Chinese troops tried to transgress in Uttarakhand's Barahoti sector and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Indian forces thwarted the attempts, and both the armies still have around 60,000 troops each and advanced weaponry in the Ladakh theatre.
The focus of the latest round of talks was to ease tensions at Hot Springs and Depsang. The talks were crucial as these came at a time of massive military build-up and infrastructure development by the Chinese side across the LAC and the Indian Army matching the PLA moves.
In February, the two sides had pulled back their troops and weaponry from the Pangong Tso sector. However, tensions remain. Army chief Gen M M Naravane has lately said that if PLA is there to stay in the Ladakh theatre, so would the Indian Army, flagging concern about the continuing build-up in the theatre. Both sides had agreed to a speedy resolution of outstanding issues on LAC.
On September 30, India rejected the Chinese 'claims' and said, on the contrary, it has been Beijing that has displayed "provocative behavior and unilateral attempts to alter the status quo" in the borders. New Delhi has insisted that the Indian side has only made counter deployments in response to China's "provocative behaviours".
"We had already made our position clear a few days back that we reject such statements which have no basis in facts. It was the amassing of a large number of troops by the Chinese side, their provocative behavior and unilateral attempts to alter the status quo in contravention of all our bilateral agreements that resulted in a serious disturbance of peace and tranquility along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said in response to a question.
India and China – considered two Asian giants – have been engaged in a military standoff since May 2020 along the LAC in Ladakh since New Delhi first detected Chinese intrusions.
Having landed at Dushanbe in Tajikistan on September 16 for the much-awaited SCO Meeting, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held crucial bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. He had emphasised that "India does not subscribe to any clash of civilisations theory."
Dr Jaishankar also penned in a message on the microblogging site Twitter and stated: "As for Asian solidarity, it is for China and India to set an example".