New Delhi: The 13th round of India-China Corps Commander meeting to resolve the 17-month long stand-off in Ladakh failed to make any breakthrough with New Delhi blaming Beijing for not agreeing to "constructive suggestions" and also failing to provide any forward-looking proposals.
"The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas," said a defence ministry statement.
However, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Western Theater Command spokesperson Senior Colonel Long Shaohua said that India's "unreasonable and unrealistic demands" added difficulties to the negotiations. He said that "the Indian side should avoid misjudging the situation and cherish the hard-won situation in the China-India border areas."
The breakdown in talks means that for the second straight year India and China will keep their troops at forward locations during harsh winter in Ladakh.
Winter deployment in Ladakh is particularly difficult due to low oxygen, tough terrain, freezing temperatures which dip to below minus 20 degrees Celsius and bone-chilling winds which make survival extremely difficult. In addition, road access also gets affected for a brief period of time and taking supplies to forward areas is a logistics nightmare.
The eight-hours-long talks between Indian Army’s 14 corps commander Lt. Gen. P.G.K. Menon and his Chinese counterpart on Sunday held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point focussed on resolution of the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
India has asked for complete disengagement of Chinese troops from all friction points in Ladakh — from Hot Springs to Depsang plains — where Chinese troops are preventing patrolling by Indian soldiers. However, China has been refusing to discuss Depsang plains and is not recognising it as a friction point.
"The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of the Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements,'' said the defence ministry. It was therefore necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the Western Sector, India said.
This, India pointed out, would also be in accordance with the guidance provided by the two foreign ministers in their recent meeting in Dushanbe where they had agreed that the two sides should resolve the remaining issues at the earliest.
"During the meeting, the Indian side therefore made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals," said India.
The two sides have agreed to maintain communications as well as stability on the ground. "It is our expectation that the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols," said India.
Chinese Western Theater Command spokesperson said that during the meeting the Chinese side made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated China’s sincerity of maintaining overall interests of bilateral military relations. "However, the Indian side still persisted in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations," he said. He added that China is firm in its resolve to safeguard its national sovereignty.
During the 12th round of Corps Commander talks in August both sides had agreed to pull back from Gogra. Before Gogra, Indian and Chinese troops had disengaged from Galwan Valley and banks of Pangong Tso in Ladakh.