India and China today held high-level talks, amid the border stand-off between the militaries of the two countries near eastern Ladakh. The talks were requested by India and were held at the Border Personnel Meeting Point in Maldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.
The Indian delegation was led by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, Commander of 14 Corps, while the Chinese side was headed by the Commander of the Tibet Military District. Multiple local-level talks by regional military commanders have not made any headway so far.
Without specifically mentioning the talks, the Indian Army in a statement said Indian and Chinese officials continue to remain engaged through the established military and diplomatic channels to address the current situation in the India-China border areas.
India says the Chinese military is hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim, and strongly refutes Beijing’s contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.
The stand-off in eastern Laddakh is in at least five key areas where India and China have had traditional differences on the perception of the LAC in the region. The present tension between the two sides came into sharp focus when reports of skirmishes between the soldiers of both sides were reported in the Pangong Lake region on May 5 and May 6.
Since the clashes, there have been multiple reports of intrusions by Chinese infantry soldiers in areas which include Demchok to the South, the Fingers region on the Eastern banks of the high-altitude Pangong Lake, the Galwan River basin and more recently the Gogra post. There have also been some reports of increased Chinese activity to the North, towards the Daulat Beg Oldie area.
The likely trigger for the face-off was China’s stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake and the construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
The road in the Finger area in Pangong Tso is considered crucial for India to carry out patrol. India has already decided not to stall any border infrastructure projects in eastern Ladakh in view of Chinese protests.