Talks between India and China to restore the status quo ante — meaning getting soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army to move back from the places where they intruded — at the Line of Actual Control have remained inconclusive, sources told NDTV.
A joint press release issued after the sixth round of talks between senior commanders of both nations stressed on the importance of strengthening communication, avoiding misunderstandings and refraining from sending more troops to the frontline.
But in a cryptic note, it also added in the list of don’ts — “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation in the ground and avoid taking actions that may complicate the situation”.
It was not immediately clear if they referred to the current situation on the ground or the status quo that existed before the Chinese troops started a series of transgressions earlier this year.
The Lieutenant General-level talks, held near the Chinese border post in eastern Ladakh’s Moldo, was also attended by a senior foreign ministry official.
The latest round of talks comes on the heels of a meeting between foreign minister S Jaishanker and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in Moscow on September 10.
The two sides had agreed on measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tension, sticking to agreements and protocols on border management and restoration of peace along the Line of Control.
Following a series of transgressions in April and May and a fatal face-off between the troops of the two nations on June 15, the two sides had agreed on disengagement in talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart.
The process however remained incomplete, with Chinese troops refusing to move from several key positions. Over the last weeks, China made repeated efforts to dislodge Indian troops from the heights around Pangong lake that they had recaptured.
Last week, in what was seen as a strong warning to China, defence minister Rajnath Singh said India is “very serious about issues of sovereignty” and is prepared for “all outcomes” to ensure that it is maintained.
Detailing a key meeting in Moscow between him and his Chinese counterpart, Mr Singh said he made it clear that India wants to resolve this issue in a peaceful manner and “wants the Chinese side to work together with us”.
At the same time, we also made it clear that we will do our best to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mr Singh had told parliament.