India, China hold 18th round of corps commander talks to resolve military standoff

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India, China, border issue
Image Source : FILE India, China hold 18th round of corps commander talks to resolve military standoff

New Delhi: In a bid to resolve the three-year-old military standoff, India and China are holding the 18th round of Corps Commander Level talks on Sunday (April 23). The meeting is being held at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point in the Eastern Ladakh sector and unresolved issues are being taken up by both countries. The meeting between the two countries is being held after a gap of five months. The last meeting of the Corps Commander level was held in December last year.

Fire and Fury Corps Commander Lt Gen Rashim Bali is heading the meeting from the Indian side and an equivalent rank officer from the Chinese side is engaged in the meeting taking place in the eastern Ladakh sector, defence sources told news agency ANI. The meeting is taking place when both sides are engaged in rapid construction activities along the border areas to strengthen their respective positions. The Indian side has been raising the issue of the Depsang plains, Demchok and disengagement by both sides repeatedly.

Corps commander-level talks

The corps commander-level talks started to resolve the matters between the two sides in the eastern Ladakh area after the Chinese side tried to alter the status quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by aggressively moving forward with heavy weaponry and a large number of troops in 2020 during the initial period of the Covid pandemic.

The two sides have however disengaged, and have moved to new positions to avoid confrontations. In the talks, the two sides have agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.

However, the Chinese side does not seem to be in a hurry to resolve the issues and is not allowing any forward movement to take place on the legacy issues like the Depsang plains. They have been blocking Indian patrols to move to their patrolling points in that sector for a long time now.

Chinese Defence Minister to visit India 

The Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu is scheduled to visit India for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting next week in the national capital. The SCO Defence Ministers’ meeting is scheduled to be held on April 27 and 28. Following the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes, this is the first time that a Chinese Defence Minister will visit India.

Li Shangfu, a US-sanctioned general, was named as China’s new Defence Minister a month ago. Li has been under US sanctions since 2018 and his appointment comes at a time of increasingly strained relations between Beijing and Washington.

The chances of de-escalation in near future by the two sides don’t seem very bright and the Indian side is continuing to deploy heavily in the area to guard against any Chinese attempts to alter the status quo as they keep trying to do. Indian troops thwarted one such attempt in December last year in Yangtse when a Chinese contingent was forcefully pushed back to its area after they tried to come to Indian positions on the LAC there.

(With ANI inputs)

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