There was no breakthrough in the top-level military talks between India and China last week, with Beijing again showing reluctance to complete troop disengagement at a friction point in eastern Ladakh while also refusing to discuss steps to defuse the bigger problems at Depsang and Demchok.
The 14th round of talks, led by the Leh-based 14 Corps commander Lt-General Anindya Sengupta and South Xinjiang military district chief Major General Yang Lin, however, resolved to hold the next meeting at the earliest. Unlike the 13th round on October 10, which had ended in a bitter stalemate with accusations hurled at each other, India and China also issued a joint statement this time.
But like previous joint statements, it was restricted to the usual platitudes about the two sides agreeing to “follow the guidance provided by their state leaders” and maintaining dialogue “to work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest”. “The two sides also agreed to consolidate on the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the western sector including during winter,” it added.
Sources said the Indian delegation during the talks strongly pushed for completion of the stalled troop disengagement at Patrolling Point-15 (PP-15) in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area, the groundwork for which was completed during the 12th round in July last year.
“Though there was no immediate positive response to the Indian proposal, there were indications that China could agree to the disengagement at PP-15 in the 15th round to be held soon,” said a source.