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Ladakh standoff: India, China hold 12th round of talks; hope for a breakthrough

Sources said the meeting, which began around 10.30 am, continued until 7.30 pm, and defence establishment sources were hopeful of reaching an understanding for disengagement from Hot Spring and Gogra Post, Patrolling Point (PP) 15 and PP17A, respectively, friction points.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: August 1, 2021 6:59:05 am
Troops of both sides have now moved back to their respective permanent bases.

India and China held the 12th round of the Corps Commander-level talks on Saturday to find a possible resolution for the nearly 15-month-long military standoff in eastern Ladakh. The meeting was held on the Chinese side of Chushul-Moldo Border Personnel Meeting point.

Sources said the meeting, which began around 10.30 am, continued until 7.30 pm, and defence establishment sources were hopeful of reaching an understanding for disengagement from Hot Spring and Gogra Post, Patrolling Point (PP) 15 and PP17A, respectively, friction points.

There are platoon-sized units of troops on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at both these friction points since last year. But the troops are not in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation anywhere in eastern Ladakh.

The talks, however, are unlikely to resolve issues in Depsang Plains and Demchok. In Depsang Plains, Chinese PLA troops are blocking Indian soldiers from accessing their traditional patrolling limits — PP10, PP11, PP11A, PP12 and PP13 — in the region. India had accessed the patrolling limits in February 2020, before the standoff began last May.

In Demchok, sources said, “so-called civilians” have pitched tents on the Indian side of Charding Nala, which marks the LAC.

But any movement on PP15 and PP17A would mark a breakthrough, as there has been a stalemate since February. The two sides had disengaged from the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, where troops and tanks from both sides were barely a few hundred meters apart at some places. The troops and armoured columns were pulled back by both sides from friction points in the area.

The Corps Commanders had met for the 10th time within two days after the disengagement to discuss the other issues, but it did not yield a positive result. They met again on April 9, but the two sides could not even agree on a joint statement, unlike the previous few rounds of discussions.

The Indian delegation was led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, commander of XIV Corps which is responsible for the LAC with eastern Ladakh. Maj Gen Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang Military district led the Chinese discussions.

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