India, China decide to sort out issues through talks

New Delhi: Indian and Chinese armies are holding a Lieutenant General-level dialogue today in their first major attempt to resolve the month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh, a day after the two countries vowed not to allow “differences” become disputes and agreed to resolve them through talks.

The two countries on Friday held diplomatic talks with an aim to resolve the standoff, and agreed to handle the issue through peaceful discussions while respecting each other”s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations.

In the talks, the two sides agreed to settle differences in accordance with guidance provided by leadership of two countries, in a reference to decisions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at an informal summit in Chinese city of Wuhan in 2018.

In the military talks, the Indian delegation will press for 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 development of infrastructure by India on its side of the de-facto border, government sources said.

The Indian delegation will be led by Lt General Harinder Singh, the general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, while the Chinese side will be headed by the Commander of the Tibet Military District, government sources said.

The talks are slated to start at around 8 am at the Border Personnel Meeting Point in Maldo on the Chinese side in Eastern Ladakh.

The meeting is taking 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.

“The one point agenda for us at the talks will be to bring back peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). We will suggest specific measures to achieve it which will include going back to the pre-May 5 situation,” a top military official said on condition of anonymity.

The standoff began on 5 May following violent clashes between the two sides at Pangong Tso. It is learnt that Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane carried out a comprehensive review of the situation in eastern Ladakh with top military officials ahead of the talks.

When asked about the Lt General-level dialogue, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told a media briefing in Beijing: “We have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and we maintain close communications though military and diplomatic channels.”