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India, China Engage in Fresh Diplomatic Talks on LAC Standoff

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In a bid to address the prolonged border standoff, India and China engaged in yet another round of diplomatic talks. The meeting, held in Beijing, focused on achieving disengagement in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, despite the ongoing dialogue, there were no immediate signs of a breakthrough in resolving the contentious issue that began nearly four years ago.

Key Points from India-China Talks:

  1. Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC): The 15th meeting of the WMCC on India-China Border Affairs took place in Beijing. This mechanism has been instrumental since the standoff began in May 2020. During the meeting, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on achieving complete disengagement and resolving remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.
  2. Maintaining Regular Contact: While no significant breakthrough was reported, both India and China agreed to maintain regular contact through diplomatic and military channels. The focus remains on upholding peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas, in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and protocols.
  3. Friction Points: The statement released after the talks did not specifically address the friction points at Demchok and Depsang. These areas continue to witness troop deployments from both sides in close proximity to the LAC. However, progress has been made in other regions, including the north and south banks of Pangong Tso Lake, Gogra, and Hot Springs.
  4. Indian Delegation: The Indian delegation was led by the joint secretary (East Asia) from the external affairs ministry.
  5. Chinese Delegation: The Chinese side was led by the director general of the boundary and oceanic department of the foreign ministry.

Background:

The border standoff between India and China began in May 2020 and has persisted for nearly four years. The WMCC meetings have played a crucial role in maintaining communication during this period. However, the situation remains complex, with both countries having approximately 60,000 troops each arrayed along the LAC in the Ladakh sector.

India has consistently emphasized that normalizing the overall bilateral relationship hinges on restoring peace and tranquility along the LAC. China’s leadership, on the other hand, contends that the border issue should be managed while other aspects of bilateral relations, such as trade, move forward.

The 21st round of talks between Indian and Chinese corps commanders at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point in February 2024 followed the last WMCC meeting in November 2023. The 2020 Galwan Valley clash, which resulted in fatalities on the LAC for the first time in 45 years, significantly impacted bilateral relations.

As both nations navigate this delicate situation, the world watches closely, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the border standoff.

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