India, China agree to push for early disengagement

NEW DELHI, 25 Jan: India and China have agreed to push for an early disengagement of troops and resolved to continue “effective efforts” to stabilize and control the situation in eastern Ladakh at their ninth round of military talks on the border row, a joint press statement said on Monday.

The statement issued here by the defence ministry said the two sides agreed that the meeting was “positive, practical and constructive, which further enhanced mutual trust and understanding.”

“The two sides agreed to continue their effective efforts in ensuring the restraint of the frontline troops, stabilize and control the situation along the LAC in the western sector of the China-India border, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility,” it said after the 16-hour meeting at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the line of actual control in eastern Ladakh.

The statement said they agreed to hold the 10th round of corps commander meeting at an early date to jointly advance de-escalation.

The corps commander-level talks began at around 10:30 am on Sunday and ended at 2:30 am on Monday, military sources said.

“They also agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, maintain the good momentum of dialogue and negotiation, and hold the 10th round of the corps commander level meeting at an early date to jointly advance de-escalation,” the statement said.

The sources said India insisted that it was up to China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at friction points in the region where the two militaries have been engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball face-off for nearly nine months.

Hours after the talks concluded, it came to light that Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a clash in the high-altitude Naku La region in north Sikkim on 20 January, an incident described by the Indian Army on Monday as a “minor face-off.”

In a statement, the Indian Army said the face-off was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols.

Close to 100,000 Indian and Chinese troops are deployed in eastern Ladakh as both sides have been holding on to their ground and showing readiness for a long-haul, amid continuing diplomatic and military talks to find an amicable solution. (PTI)