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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

India requests China to talk over Ladakh border dispute

As the Ladakh border dispute continues, India and China have planned to hold talks to resolve the issue. However, summits between Modi and Xi Jinping have not drawn any fruitful results for Ladakh in the past. Will this talk be any different?

India has requested high-level military talks with China as a face-off between the two countries continues along the border in India’s northern Ladakh region, an official confirmed Wednesday.

On June 6, lieutenant generals from both sides will meet at the Indian border point meeting hut in Ladakh.

India-China to talk on Ladakh border crisis

“India will be led by Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, corps commander of the Leh-based XIV Corps,” an Indian Army spokesman said.

On Tuesday, major general-level officers from Indian and China held a discussion to resolve border tensions.

The border skirmishes which started on May 5 at the Galwan valley in Ladakh and then at Nakula pass in northeastern Sikkim region three days later have led to the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border between India and China.

“India is in talks with China. We have a mechanism to solve the problem and we are working as per that mechanism. Nothing better if it can be resolved through talks,” tweeted Rajnath Singh, India’s Defense Minister.There was no immediate response on the talks from Beijing. However Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that there were “unimpeded channels for border-related communication in diplomatic and military fields” between Beijing and New Delhi.

“Currently the overall situation along the border is stable and controllable… We believe the issues can be properly resolved after bilateral negotiations and consultations,” he said during a regular news briefing.

Border tensions between India and China ongoing 

Border tensions between the two countries have existed for over seven decades. The two countries even fought a war over the hilly state of Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, called the Sino-Indian War.

In 2017, both the armies were locked in a 73-day stand-off in the disputed Doklam plateau near Sikkim, regarding the building of a road by the Chinese. As part of Operation Juniper, about 270 Indian troops armed with weapons and two bulldozers crossed the Sikkim border into Doklam to stop the Chinese troops from constructing the road.

The stand-off had ended with the withdrawal of troops by both armies.

Several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a high-altitude cross-border clash involving fistfights and stone-throwing at a remote but strategically important mountain pass at Ladakh near Tibet in May.

Read more: Ladakh: India-China troops face off again

There have been numerous face-offs and brawls between Chinese and Indian soldiers, including one near the northwest Indian region of Ladakh captured on video in 2017, where troops were seen throwing punches and stones.

In 2017, there was a high-altitude standoff in Bhutan’s Doklam region for two months after the Indian army sent troops to stop China from constructing a road there.

More recently, an Indian patrol party of the Indo-Tibetan border police (ITBP) were detained and later released by Chinese forces after a scuffle broke out between the Indian and Chinese border troops in Ladakh in May.

The India-China talks over Ladakh may enable the troops of both countries to keep the scuffles and hostility to a minimum.

India-China summits

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff.

The meeting, widely interpreted as an attempt to reset relations and rebuild trust, follows an extended period of diplomatic estrangement between the two neighboring nuclear powers.

Writing in the Hindustan Times on the eve of the summit, Chinese Ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, described the two countries as being at a “critical stage of economic development and modernization,” pointing out that economic and trade cooperation between the two nations has surged in recent years.

However, there were still conflicts between troops at the Ladakh border, which is what makes the India China talks over Ladakh border dispute so crucial.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk