Talks between Indian army commanders and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops in key friction areas along their border ended in a deadlock and did not resolve a standoff lasting 17 months that sometimes resulted in deadly clashes, both sides stated Monday.
The standoff continues and the two countries will keep their troops in Ladakh’s forward areas for another winter of dangerously freezing temperatures.
India’s defense ministry released a statement saying it had given “constructive suggestions”, but that the Chinese side was not agreeable and could not offer any forward-looking ideas. A Chinese military spokesperson stated that the Indian side is sticking to unrealistic and unreasonable demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations.
After a gap of two month at Moldo, on the Chinese side, in the Ladakh region, the commanders of both armies met Sunday for talks.
Both India and China have withdrew troops from faceoff areas on the northern and south banks of Pangong Tso and Gogra, respectively, since February. However, they maintain additional troops as part of a multitiered deployment.
According to Indian media reports, troops have been deployed at Depsang Plains and Demchok.
The Indian army chief expressed frustration at the Chinese side’s massive deployment of troops, weapons and personnel during Sunday’s talks.
Gen. M.M. stated that “Yes, it is concerning that there has been a large-scale buildup and that it continues to be in place. To sustain that buildup, there has been equal infrastructure development on the Chinese side.” Naravane stated Saturday.
It means that China (and they) will be there to stay. He said that while we keep an eye on all developments, if they are to stay, then we will also be there.”
According to the Chinese statement, Senior Colonel Long Shaohua from the Western Theater Command stated that “China’s determination is unwavering to protect its sovereignty and China hopes India won’t misjudge the situation.”
The temperatures in Ladakh’s forward areas drop to below 30 degrees Celsius (22 below zero Fahrenheit) in January. Both sides used to retreat to summer holding positions at this time. However, the two sides have maintained close proximity to the disputed border since the faceoff began in May 2020.
Tens of thousands of soldiers have been stationed by both countries along the Line of Actual Control, a de facto border. They are backed up by tanks, artillery and fighter jets. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed last year in an altercation with Chinese soldiers along the disputed border. The conflict involved clubs, stones, and fists. China claimed to have lost four soldiers.
The Line of Actual Control divides Indian and Chinese-held territories, from Ladakh in west India to Arunachal Pradesh in India’s east. China claims the entire area. In 1962, India and China engaged in a bloody war over the border.
The Chinese have been building large, weather-proof structures along eastern Ladakh’s LAC since the start of the standoff last year. Indian media reported on new helipads and the expansion of airstrips. They also reported new barracks, radar locations, surface-to-air missile site sites, and new radar locations.