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10-hour talks at Moldo as India, China discuss pullback of troops


Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 31

Senior Indian and Chinese military commanders could possibly arrive at a consensus of some sort for a pullback of troops at the identified friction points along the 832-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

The agreed upon agenda for the Lt Gen-level talks, which began at 10 am and lasted around 10 hours, included disengagement and de-escalation of troops, weapons and equipment from Gogra and Hot Springs, the two flashpoints along the LAC. The Chinese were learnt to be unwilling to discuss troop build-up in Depsang plains, said an official.

Round 12 of Army talks

It was the 12th round of military talks since June 6 last year
Come 2 weeks after S Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart
EAM told China that LAC tension was ‘negatively’ impacting ties
Any unilateral change in status quo was ‘unacceptable’, he had said

Organised at the Moldo garrison of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China, it was the 12th round of senior military level talks between the two sides since June 6 last year. Moldo faces Chushul on the Indian side.

A formal announcement of the outcome, if any, was expected after the Indian side returned to its base and the decision was conveyed to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The MEA is the coordinator of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs. The WMCC is a group comprising representatives of the foreign ministries and the militaries of the two sides.

Lt Gen PGK Menon, 14 Corps Commander, led the talks from the Indian side. Once Lt Gen Menon along with his team returned to Chushul from Moldo, he was expected to head back to his headquarters at Leh, a 4-hour journey in normal weather conditions.

The 12th round of military talks took place over two weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar firmly conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the prolongation of the existing situation in eastern Ladakh was visibly impacting the bilateral ties in a “negative manner”.

The two foreign ministers had held a one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a conclave of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tajik capital city Dushanbe on July 14.

In the meeting, Jaishankar had told Wang that any unilateral change in the status quo along the Line of Actual Control was “not acceptable” to India and that the overall ties could only develop after full restoration of peace and tranquillity in eastern Ladakh.

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