As Talks Stall, Centre Links East Ladakh Pullback To Peace At All Friction Points
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As Talks Stall, Centre Links East Ladakh Pullback To Peace At All Friction Points

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Amid signs that talks between India and China on disengagement at other friction points had stalled, India on Thursday said there would be no de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh until there was disengagement in all friction areas.

“It is our expectation that the Chinese side will work with us, both through the WMCC and senior commanders’ meetings, to ensure that disengagement in the remaining areas is completed at the earliest,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

This, he added, “would allow” both sides to “consider de-escalation of forces in eastern Ladakh as that alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity”. As before, India emphasised that “progress in the bilateral relationship” would happen only when there was peace on the border.

After the first round of disengagement on the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso, which saw the creation of a ‘buffer’ zone which would not be patrolled, talks between the two sides to negotiate a disengagement in Dogra-Hot Springs appear to be going nowhere. The last meeting of the military commanders led to a stalemate of sorts.

Ultimately, India wants to restore its patrolling rights in the Depsang plains where Chinese troops have prevented Indians from going up to Patrolling Points 10 to 13.

The MEA spokesperson said foreign minister S Jaishankar, in his conversation with his counterpart Wang Yi, “had emphasised that with the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Lake area, the two sides should now move quickly to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC in eastern Ladakh”.

“A prolongation of the existing situation is not in the interest of either side,” Srivastava added.

Another WMCC meeting between the two sides has not yet happened as a follow-up to the senior commanders’ meeting.

“The senior commanders in their last meeting (on February 20) had noted that the disengagement in Pangong Lake area was a significant step forward and it provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the LAC in the western sector,” Srivastava said.

The slowdown in the disengagement comes after Indian military commanders said China had withdrawn without a win. Many others have said that the creation of a buffer zone itself could be seen as a success for China.

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