China says committed to properly resolve border standoff with India ahead of key military talks

Beijing: China on Friday said that it is committed to properly resolve the relevant issue with India ahead of the key talks between senior Indian and Chinese military officials on Saturday to end the border standoff.

Both the sides are expected to deliberate on specific proposals to end the month-long bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh during the first extensive talks between the Indian and Chinese military on Saturday, led by lieutenant generals from both the armies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here that “at the moment the situation in the boundary region between China and India is overall stable and controllable”.

We have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and we maintain close communications though military and diplomatic channels, he said when asked about reports that Indian and Chinese military officials are due to hold talks on Saturday.

We are committed to properly resolve the relevant issue, Geng said.

The general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, Lt Gen Harinder Singh, is expected to represent India at the talks which is scheduled to be held at one of the border meeting points, the official sources in New Delhi said.

The Indian side is expected to present specific proposals at the talks to de-escalate tension in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Demchok — the three areas in eastern Ladakh where the two sides have been on a bitter standoff for the last one month, the sources said.

It is not immediately known what will be the proposals that the Indian military will take to the negotiating table but it is understood that it will insist on return to status quo in all the areas.

The two sides have already held at least 10 rounds of negotiations between local commanders as well as major general-rank officials of the two armies but the talks did not yield any positive result, they said.

It is learnt that two sides are also engaged in diplomatic talks to find a solution to the face-off which is turning out to be the most serious military standoff between the two armies after the Doklam episode of 2017.

After the standoff began early last month, the Indian military leadership decided that Indian troops will adopt a firm approach dealing with the aggressive posturing by the Chinese troops in all disputed areas of Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.

The Chinese Army is learnt to have deployed around 2,500 troops in Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley besides gradually enhancing temporary infrastructure and weaponry.

India has also been bolstering its presence by sending additional troops and artillery guns, the sources said.

The 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 besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in the Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet while India contests it.

Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

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