The core issue in the ongoing military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh is the need to “strictly” follow various bilateral pacts and protocols in their entirety on maintenance of peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday.
Srivastava said this at a media briefing in response to a question on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s latest annual report to the US Congress, in which the commission said that the Chinese government had planned the Galwan Valley incident in June, potentially including the possibility for fatalities.
Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clashes on June 15. China is yet to disclose the number of its casualties.
Asked about the report to the US Congress, Srivastava referred to the press statement issued by India following the telephone conversation between the foreign ministers of the two countries in the aftermath of the clashes. “I would stress that the core issue remains that both sides need to strictly follow the various bilateral agreements and protocols in their entirety including the 1993 and 1996 agreement on maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC,” he said.
The agreements mandated that there should not be amassing of troops, each side should strictly abide by and respect the LAC, and should not take any unilateral action to alter it.
Multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete outcome to resolve the standoff.
Asked when the next round of military talks are likely to take place, Srivastava did not give a direct reply but said the two sides continue to maintain communication. He said, “As we have conveyed earlier, the two sides continue to maintain communication through diplomatic and military channels with the objective of ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along LAC in the Western sector and full restoration of peace and tranquility.”
Both sides have agreed to have another round of Senior Commanders meeting at an appropriate time, he added.
The eighth round of military talks had taken place on November 6, during which both sides broadly discussed disengagement of troops from specific friction points. The two armies had described the eighth round of talks as candid, in-depth and constructive.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines