Indian and Chinese militaries held 17th round of talks on Tuesday over the Ladakh stand-off, according to a joint statement on Thursday.
India and China are engaged in a military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh since early 2020 when Chinese soldiers crossed the de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and occupied India-claimed territories.
The Thursday's statement says the talks were "frank and in-depth", keeping in line with the guidance provided by the leaders of the two countries to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.
"The 17th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side on 20th December 2022...The two sides exchanged views on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in an open and constructive manner," says the statement released by the Ministry of Defence.
The last round of India-China military talks was held on Jul7 17. This is the first round of talks since the Indian and Chinese military personnel clashed in the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month. However, the statement does not mention the Tawang clash.
Though no breakthrough was achieved in the talks, the statement said the two sides would ensure peace and stability in the area until a solution is reached.
"In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest," says the statement.
A similar message was also repeated by the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
🔹The two sides agreed to maintain security & stability on the ground in the western sector; maintain dialogue through military & diplomatic channels & work out a mutually accepted resolution: @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/AP5YQ1GZbH— Prasar Bharati News Services & Digital Platform (@PBNS_India) December 22, 2022
Since early 2020, Indian and Chinese personnel have clashed on multiple occasions on multiple places, ranging from Pangong Tso lake and surrounding area to Galwan Valley. On June 15, 2020, the bloodiest skirmishes between the side took place in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh which 20 Indian soldiers and unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were killed.
Since the stand-off began in 2020, around 50-60,000 soldiers along with war-waging equipment are deployed in the region. Though soldiers have disengaged in some areas, it's yet to take place everywhere and disengagement is yet to start.
Disengagement refers to the pulling back of soldiers of the two sides physically locked against each other at a location whereas deescalation refers to the broader pulling back of war-waging equipment such as artillery, missiles, and fighter planes deployed in the region, and military reserves in the rear.
(With PTI inputs)