Army vehicles moving from Khardung La pass in Leh. There has been heavy troop deployment along the LAC in Lada…Read MoreAfter four rounds of diplomatic talks on the LAC situation, India remains convinced dialogue is the way forward as it works with China to end the standoff. Contrary to the perception that Indian and Chinese officials have mostly been talking at each other, India sees the latest meeting on Thursday as “useful” and is hoping that it will lead to some progress on the ground, official sources told TOI.
India and China Thursday held another meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC). This was the 18th WMCC meeting and the 4th in the middle of the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh.
“It is wrong to say that the meetings have not served any purpose. There was a useful meeting on Thursday and hopefully it will carry the disengagement process forward,” said a source.
Both sides have underscored in the WMCC talks the importance of agreements reached between the foreign ministers and special representatives for, as India has said, early and complete disengagement along LAC. This understanding is yet to be put into action though with Chinese troops, as military sources have confirmed, not withdrawing from Pangong, Gogra and certain other areas.
Efforts for de-escalation in the face of rival military build-ups in the Depsang-DBO area have also not succeeded. The deadlock has remained despite five rounds of talks between the senior commanders. The Indian army has asked PLA to restore status quo as it existed in April this year.
Significantly, and unlike India, China has avoided mentioning early and complete disengagement in its readout of the meetings.
India and China were initially said to have agreed on the “broad principles” for disengagement and based on that, as the government had said, some progress had been made. While India has emphasised on early disengagement in the talks, the government realises that the process is complex as it involves re-deployment of troops that can be made possible only through “mutually agreed reciprocal action”. As both sides have said, there’s a need to maintain close communication and have more meetings of the WMCC and also between the military commanders.
Despite the deadlock, it’s important for India that the meeting on Thursday reinforced the broad principles that the two countries had agreed on for disengagement. China said in its statement that the two sides agreed to “conscientiously” implement the consensus reached between the two foreign ministers and the special representatives on China-India boundary question and that they “enhanced mutual understanding” while positively evaluating the progress in the meeting.