Indian, Chinese army commanders discuss border standoff

Indian and Chinese military commanders are meeting to discuss withdrawing troops from a key area of ​​their disputed border to ease a 20-month standoff

NEW DELHI – Indian and Chinese military commanders met on Wednesday to discuss withdrawing troops from a key area of ​​their disputed border to ease a 20-month standoff.

These countries have deployed tens of thousands of soldiers along their de facto borders, the Line of Actual Control, backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets. In 2020, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clashes with Chinese soldiers, including sticks, stones and fists. China said it lost four soldiers.

The commander-level talks were held three months later. The last round of talks in October ended in a stalemate, with China accusing India of insisting on “unreasonable and unrealistic demands, adding difficulties to the talks”.

Indian Army Chief of Staff Manoji Mukund Naravane described the current situation in eastern Ladakh as “stable and under control”.

But he told reporters in New Delhi that India would not allow China to change the situation by force.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin put the blame on India on Tuesday, saying: “We hope the Indian side can work together with the Chinese side to shift from emergency response to normalized control in border areas as soon as possible.”

Wang Yi also said that the current border situation is generally stable.

Since February last year, India and China have withdrawn troops from some locations on the north and south shores of Pangong Tso, Gogra and Galwan Valley, but continue to maintain additional forces as part of a multi-tiered deployment.

Naravane said the de-escalation and the retreat of troops to old positions depended on the success of the talks.

The Line of Actual Control stretches the territory controlled by China and India from Ladakh in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east of India, all of which China has sovereignty over. In 1962, India and China fought a war on the border.