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Monday, July 8, 2024

Ladakh consensus reached between India and China

China said that it had reached a consensus with India over the ongoing border issues between the Trans-Himalayan neighbours, which is a key milestone for both states as they look to put the issue behind them.

China said Wednesday it had reached a “positive consensus” with India over resolving tensions at the border at Ladakh between the two countries, where troops have faced off in recent weeks.

Tensions flare on a fairly regular basis between the two regional powers over their 3,500-kilometre (2,200-mile) frontier, which has never been properly demarcated. The latest tension is centred around Ladakh, which has arisen because China deems that the Indian side is building a road in Chinese territory, a claim which India denies.

Ladakh consensus reached between India and China

Thousands of troops from the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been involved in the latest face-off since May in India’s Ladakh region, just opposite Tibet — before signs in recent days that a resolution was in sight.

A “positive consensus” on resolving the latest border issue was achieved following “effective communication” through diplomatic and military channels, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a press briefing.

Read more: India, a colossal washout in US versus China showdown

“Currently both sides are taking appropriate actions to ease the border situation based on this consensus,” she said.

New Delhi said on Sunday that the two countries had agreed to “peacefully resolve” the border flare-up after a high-level meeting between army commanders.

India said the commanders agreed an “early resolution” was “essential” for relations between the world’s two most-populous nations.

Ladakh consensus reached, both sides to work together to solve the conflict 

In a statement India’s foreign ministry said the two sides would “continue the military and diplomatic engagements to resolve the situation and to ensure peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Sources and Indian news reports suggest that India appears to have effectively ceded to China areas that the People’s Liberation Army occupied in recent weeks, notably parts of the northern side of the Pangong Tso lake and part of the strategically important Galwan river valley.

Read more: India requests China to talk over Ladakh border dispute

Press reports say that further talks are expected this week.

There have been numerous face-offs and brawls between Chinese and Indian soldiers at the frontier, but they have become more frequent in recent years.

On May 9, several Indian and Chinese soldiers were injured in a high-altitude cross-border clash involving fists and stone-throwing in Sikkim state.

Indian officials said that within days, Chinese troops encroached over the demarcation line in the Ladakh region, further to the west, and India then moved in extra troops to positions opposite.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have sought to ease the tensions at summits over the past two years when they agreed to boost border communications between their militaries.

Ongoing border issues between India and China 

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.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk