India, China maintaining close communication on next round of military talks: MEA

By PTI
NEW DELHI: India and China have agreed to hold the next round of senior commander-level meetings soon and both sides are maintaining close communication over diplomatic and military channels on it, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh for over eight months as multiple rounds of diplomatic and military talks have not yet produced any major breakthrough.

“Both sides have agreed to hold the next round of the senior commander level meeting soon and we are in close communication over diplomatic and military channels in this regard,” Spokesperson in the ministry Anurag Srivastava said.

He was replying to a question on the next round of military talks at a media briefing.

The eighth and last round of military talks between the two sides had taken place on November 6 during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points.

India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.

In a clear message to China, Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane last week said India is committed to resolving the eastern Ladakh standoff through talks but no one should make any mistake of testing its patience.

Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides had announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.

This round was held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 last year on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave.

The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.