The stalemate continues in eastern Ladakh, as China has rejected India’s plan for a complete de-escalation. India has been insisting that a piecemeal disengagement as in Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra by creating buffer zones would not lead to a final resolution. China insists on a similar buffer zone for the Hot Springs area.
A buffer zone of 3 km to 10 km in these areas means India cannot patrol areas that it traditionally did.
Moreover, pending standoff points of May 2020 like Depsang and Demchok, which have not figured in the talks so far, need to be resolved, but China has been unwilling to discuss these points.
“During the meeting, the Indian side, therefore, made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals. The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas,” a statement from the Indian Army said.
In the 13th Corps Commander level talks on Ladakh, India reiterated that the situation along the LoAC had been caused by unilateral attempts by China to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements.
China, on the other hand, said, “India insists on unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the negotiations.”
The Chinese PLA spokesperson said that China was firm in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty. He hoped that the Indian side would avoid misjudging the situation and cherish the hard-won situation in the China-India border areas.
“The Indian side should abide by the relevant agreements and consensus reached between the two countries and two militaries, show sincerity and take concrete actions to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas with China,” the spokesperson said.
There has been no de-induction of troops from the forward locations and the build-up by both sides continues even after the initial disengagement at friction points that ensured troops pull back from close proximity.
During the meeting, the discussions between the two sides focussed on the resolution of the remaining issues along the LoAC in eastern Ladakh.
“It was, therefore, necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquillity along the LoAC in the western sector,” the Indian statement said.
The Indian statement said that this would also be in accord with the guidance provided by the two foreign ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they had agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest.
“The Indian side emphasised such resolution of the remaining areas would facilitate progress in the bilateral relations,” it said.
The two sides have agreed to maintain communications and to maintain stability on the ground. “It is our expectation that the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols,” read the statement.