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India & China holds 13th round of military discussions over Eastern Ladakh dispute

After a two-month hiatus, India and China are convening another round of high-level military discussions on Sunday to continue forward on the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh’s remaining contention points, according to security establishment sources.

According to them, the 13th session of Corps Commander-level negotiations is taking place at the Moldo border point in eastern Ladakh, on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Talks started at 10:30 a.m., according to the sources. The next round of negotiations began three weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his Chinese colleague Wang Yi that the two sides should work together to resolve the lingering concerns in eastern Ladak as soon as possible.

On September 16, two foreign ministers met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Dushanbe. On July 31, the two sides held their 12th round of negotiations. The two troops finished the disengagement procedure in Gogra a few days later, which was viewed as a key step toward the region’s restoration of peace and tranquilly.

Lt Gen PGK Menon, Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, would lead the Indian team to the talks on Sunday. Gen. MM Naravane, the Chief of Army Staff, said on Saturday that if the Chinese military maintains its large-scale deployment in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army will retain its strength, which he described as “as excellent as what the PLA has done.”

The new round of negotiations comes in the wake of two recent incidences of Chinese forces attempting incursions, one in Uttarakhand’s Barahoti sector and the other in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang sector.

Around ten days ago, troops of India and China engaged in a minor skirmish at Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, which was resolved within a few hours after talks between the two sides’ commanders, as per protocol.

Nearly 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers crossed the LAC in Uttarakhand’s Barahoti region last month. The violation occurred on August 30th, and the Chinese troops left the area after a brief stay.

India has insisted that the resolution of lingering issues, such as those in Depsang, Hot Springs, and Gogra, is critical to improving bilateral relations

Following a violent conflict in the Pangong lake areas on May 5, last year, the border standoff between forces of India and China erupted, and both sides gradually increased their deployment by bringing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

The two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August after a series of military and diplomatic consultations.

According to an agreement on disengagement, the two sides completed the evacuation of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February.

In the sensitive region, each side has between 50,000 and 60,000 troops deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). (PTI)

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