20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty during a clash with Chinese troops in Ladakh.
The third round of meeting to resolve the border issue between India and China remained inconclusive, government sources indicated, and there will be some more rounds to go. The third senior military-level meeting took place on June 30 at Chusul on the Indian side or the Line of Actual Control — the de facto border between India and China.
“More meetings are expected both at the military and at the diplomatic level, in future, to arrive at mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols,” government sources said.
”Both sides have emphasised the need for an expeditious, phased and step wise de-escalation as a priority,” the sources, however, said.
The remarks today are in clear contrast with the statement on the earlier talks of June 22, which were described as being held “in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere”. “There was a mutual consensus to disengage. Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides,” the statement had read.
Monday’s talks were described as having been held “in a businesslike manner keeping in view the COVID-19 protocols”.
The meeting was expected to focus on reducing tension at the Line of Actual Control, where 20 Indian soldiers including a commander, were killed in the line of duty during a clash with Chinese troops at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
The violence, in which the army believes that the Chinese suffered 45 casualties — including a Colonel — came at the end of weeks of face-off with the Chinese at several points on the LAC.
The success of the talks for mutual disengagement on the ground is expected to depend on China agreeing to move back to its positions before the tension started building-up in the area in April as Chinese intrusions were reported in the Fingers region on the banks of the Pangong Lake, the Hot Springs area (near the Army’s post at Gogra), the Galwan Valley, and the Depsang Plains further to the north. On May 5, the Indian and Chinese troops clashed near Pangong lake.
The latest round of talks also comes in the backdrop of China laying claim to the territory in the Fingers region of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake. Satellite images have revealed a massive Mandarin symbol and map of China inscribed on the ground they occupy.