New Delhi: The ninth round of India-China talks – aimed at defusing tension along the LAC in eastern Ladakh and finding a solution to a nearly nine-month-long border stand-off – was “positive, practical and constructive”, and finished with military commanders from both sides agreeing to “push for an early disengagement of frontline troops”, the government said on Monday evening.
The government said the talks – held over 15 hours yesterday on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border meeting point – had also enhanced mutual trust and understanding, and resulted in both sides willing to maintain momentum generated over multiple rounds of dialogue and negotiation.
“The two sides agreed that this round of meeting was positive, practical and constructive, which further enhanced mutual trust and understanding. The two sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of frontline troops. They also agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, maintain the good momentum of dialogue and negotiation,” the government said.
“The two sides agreed to continue their effective efforts in ensuring the restraint of the frontline troops, stabilise and control the situation along the LAC in the Western Sector of the China-India border, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility,” the government added.
The tenth round of talks will be held at an early date to jointly advance de-escalation.
The eighth round of talks, held in November, was a “candid, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement”, the government had said.
Tensions between the two countries escalated in early May last year after reports of skirmishes in eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Lake region. The following month, in an unprecedented escalation, 20 Indian soldiers died for their country in a clash in Galwan Valley, in which an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed.
Currently some 50,000 Indian troops are deployed in a high state of combat readiness in mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero conditions.
China has deployed an equal number of troops, officials said.
India will not reduce the number of troops unless China initiates the process, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday, while expressing confidence the row could be resolved through talks.
Earlier today it was revealed that soldiers from the two sides clashed along the LAC near Naku La Pass in Sikkim last week. The Army said the incident as a “minor face-off”. There were “insignificant and minor injuries” on both sides, sources added.