Sino-India standoff in Ladakh: Talks tomorrow, early conclusion not in sight

both sides agreed to resolve differences in accordance with guidance provided by leadership of two countries

Sino-India standoff in Ladakh: Talks tomorrow, early conclusion not in sight

Photo for representation

Arun Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jammu, June 5

Ahead of the Lieutenant General-level talks with China to be held on Saturday to convince the PLA to roll back its footprints from the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, where the Chinese troops have intruded deep inside and caused a serious situation in the cold desert region, no high hopes are being pinned on immediate delivery of results, for the Chinese have occupied the Indian territory for about a month now.

India and China, on Friday, held diplomatic talks over their military standoff in eastern Ladakh and agreed to handle their “differences” through peaceful discussions while respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations, and not allow them to become disputes.

The talks through video conference were held between Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry Naveen Srivastava and Director General in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wu Jianghao.

China has its highly fortified position at Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso (lake) area and other places. This is a major problem for the Indian army as to how to make the Chinese retrace their steps without any clashes, for the eruption in the situation is not in the interests of the two countries.

Going by the reports coming from China at the moment, there is no scope of further escalation of the situation and the road for the Indian objective of the Chinese vacating its territory will come only after the PLA troops return to the pre-face-off position.

Also read: China says committed to properly resolve border standoff with India ahead of key military talks

Without directly referring to the military standoff, the External Affairs Ministry said the two sides reviewed the state of bilateral relations including the current developments.

“In this context, they recalled the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability in the current global situation,” the MEA said in a statement.

It said both sides agreed to resolve differences in accordance with guidance provided by the leadership of two countries, in a reference to decisions taken at the two informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

India has all well-documented records showing the Chinese intrusion into the territory where they had not ventured with such a massive strength anytime before.

The Chinese argument, sources said, India was constructing in the disputed territory is untenable as India had been constructing roads and bridges for the past over 12 years linking these to its border posts and airstrips.

“Both sides agreed that in accordance with the guidance provided by the leadership, the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion bearing in mind the importance of respecting each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations and not allow them to become disputes,” the MEA said.

Sources informed about the behind-the-scene developments on this highly sensitive issue concerning the Indian sovereignty and integrity and told The Tribune that 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh, who led the military delegation is finalising its talking points about the strategy to be adopted, will be at the talks on Saturday.

It is going to be like moves on the chessboard where the rival is to be outmanoeuvred with the straight talk as also in the language wrapped in diplomatic parlances.

China, however, has not disclosed as to who would be representing at the talks in keeping with Beijing’s secret style of operating.

The Chinese indeed had some advantage but India, too, had its list of talking points of its options that it might exercise if the talks, that was destined to be a round of talks in the days and weeks to come depending on the groundwork and the mood of the talks on Saturday, sources said.

They, however, did not disclose what kind of options the Indians have in such a situation that looks like a prolonged stand-off that may last longer than the 73-day-long face-off at Doklam in 2017.

“The Indians will stand their ground and no concessions will be offered, come what may in lieu of the Chinese vacating the Indian territory. That’s our position and we will realise it through talks that the duration or rounds of talks are not the immediate consideration,” the source said.

A veteran of such talks of international ramifications over the past few decades and a keen observer of the global affairs told The Tribune that the progress of the talks would depend on how strategic pluses and minuses were forwarded and responded to (at the face-to-face talks).

“There can be no prompting from the rear nor does that ever happen,” he said.

While the Chinese media has appreciated what it calls “strategic calmness” of India, it has also warned that India should have no “illusions of nibbling at borders”. — With inputs from PTI

This is seen as a strategic compulsion of China owing to the global scene as also its concerns resulting out of domestic distress because of the pandemic-stricken economy.

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