Another round of talks between India and China is complete
New Delhi: Senior Indian and Chinese diplomats met on Wednesday in virtual mode as part of their 19th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) where it was once again decided to implement agreements for disengagement of troops of both nations “at all the friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)” and “to strengthen communication, especially between the ground commanders” of both armies.
Both sides felt that the next (seventh) round of the meeting of Senior Commanders should be held at an early date so that both sides can work towards early and complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC in accordance with the existing bilateral agreement and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquillity. Both sides also “agreed to continue to maintain close consultations at the diplomatic and military level”.
The Indian delegation was led by the Joint Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) while the Director General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Chinese delegation.
Observers feel that while complete de-escalation in the Ladakh sector will probably remain a pipe-dream despite the onset of the harsh winter there, given the heavy troop deployment on both sides and the trust deficit, it is nevertheless a positive sign that the two countries continue to engage in talks both at a diplomatic and military level.
In a statement on the meeting, the MEA said, “The two sides reviewed the current situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas and had frank and detailed discussions on the developments since the last meeting of the WMCC on 20 August, 2020. The two sides attached importance to the meetings between the two Defence Ministers and the two Foreign Ministers held earlier this month. They also noted that the agreement between the two Foreign Ministers should be sincerely implemented to ensure disengagement at all the friction points along the LAC.”
The MEA further said, “In this regard, the two sides positively evaluated the outcome of the sixth Senior Commanders meeting on 21 September. They emphasized the need to implement the steps outlined in the joint press release issued after the last meeting of the senior commanders so as to avoid misunderstandings and to maintain stability on the ground. In this context, the need to strengthen communication, especially between the ground commanders, was emphasized by both sides.”