India, China to hold ninth round of talks to resolve Ladakh border standoff – Hindustan Times

Indian and Chinese military commanders will meet for the ninth time on Sunday to discuss and defuse tensions in the eastern Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The corps commander-level talks will be held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC, said officials familiar with the development.

Like the previous rounds, the meeting may not yield a positive outcome in the short-term, officials said, adding that, the dialogue, however, has to go on. Experts too are not expecting any major breakthrough through the military talks.

Former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd) said it is a good thing that talks are going on and communication is being maintained between the two sides. “However, it is unlikely that any breakthrough will take place as there does not seem to be any common ground on the basis of which an agreement can take place. This common ground has to be established in political or diplomatic level engagements. Since this has not happened, we should not expect much from the military talks,” he added.

The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had said during the eighth round of talks on November 6 that they will ensure their front-line soldiers “exercise restraint and avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation” along the LAC.

Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said earlier this month that India was committed to resolving the situation along the contested LAC through talks but no one should test India’s patience. “We are committed to resolving disputes through talks and political efforts. However, no one should make the mistake of testing India’s patience,” he had said.

Both India and China are prepared for a long haul in the Ladakh sector and are firm about holding forward positions along the LAC through the harsh winter months. The PLA has moved back at least 10,000 soldiers from depth areas in the Ladakh theatre to rear positions but its frontline deployments remain unchanged.

India has been pushing for a comprehensive disengagement at all flashpoints and restoration of status quo ante of early April during the ongoing military talks. China, however, wants the Indian Army to first pull back troops deployed on strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong Tso.

On Saturday, in a warning to China, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said, “If they (China) can get aggressive, we will also get aggressive. We have full preparations (to meet any eventuality).”

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