Indian and Chinese army commanders meet to end standoff at border – The Diplomat

The Pulse | Security | South Asia

There is no indication whether a break in the impasse has been reached, but the meeting is expected to ease tensions.

Indian army vehicles move in a convoy in the frigid desert region of Ladakh, India, Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Credit: AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan advertisement

Indian and Chinese military commanders met in another attempt to end a more than two-year-old standoff between tens of thousands of their soldiers along their disputed border that sparked bloody clashes in 2020, India’s defense ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The 17th round of talks took place on Tuesday at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side, the statement said. There was no indication if a breakthrough had been made to end the impasse.

There was initially no comment from the Chinese side.

Indian army chief Manoj Pande said last month there had been “no significant reduction” in Chinese troop levels in Ladakh. He said the border situation was “stable but unpredictable”.

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However, Tuesday’s meeting between army commanders is expected to ease tensions as it comes less than two weeks after another clash between soldiers in the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh left some injured on both sides.

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India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament that no Indian soldiers were seriously injured and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after.

Although neither side has specified how many were injured in the December 9 clash, Indian media said at least six Indian soldiers were treated for injuries.

In June 2020, a violent brawl erupted in a melee with clubs, stones and fists, killing 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan sector. China said four of its soldiers were killed in the incident.

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On Tuesday, corps commanders held talks about restoring peace and tranquility along the disputed western sector border known as the Line of Effective Control, the statement said.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current duel is taking place.

India says any unilateral change in border status quo by Beijing is unacceptable.

Both countries have deployed tens of thousands of soldiers along the de facto border, supported by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.

Since February last year, both India and China have withdrawn troops from some locations on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso, Gogra and Galwan Valley, but they continue to maintain additional troops as part of a multi-stage operation.

Troops have been added in Demchok and Depsang plains, Indian media reports said.

The Line of Effective Control separates Chinese-Indian held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China waged a deadly border war in 1962.

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Since the standoff began in 2020, China has built dozens of large weatherproof structures along the Line of Effective Control in eastern Ladakh for its troops to stay in over the winter. Indian media also reported on new helipads, widened runways, new barracks, new surface-to-air missile sites and radar sites.