India, China hold fresh talks to end border row

| | New Delhi
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India, China hold fresh talks to end border row

Monday, 11 October 2021 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi

India puts forth its concerns against Chinese propaganda

India and China held the 13th round of high-level military talks for over eight hours on Sunday to seek a forward movement on the stalled disengagement process in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of a massive propaganda campaign and pinpricks for the last ten days along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh besides a psychological operation on the Chinese social media.

A photo of the Galwan incident on the Chinese social media was deliberately being made viral for the last ten days in areas along the LAC to psychologically put pressure on the Indian delegation ahead of the talks, sources said.

However, the Indian delegation put forth its concerns on the delay in resolving the friction points in eastern Ladakh at an early date. Rejecting the Chinese psychological operations, the Indian side also stood its ground and put forth  Indian concerns in a candid manner without any psychological pressure, sources said.

The Chinese propaganda and psychological operations are based on Al Qaeda’s tactics of attacking the US once and releasing threat videos for over a decade to terrorise the western world. Likewise, China is also seeking to milk the Galwan incident in which it has not even released the correct casualty figures it sustained at the hands of the Indian Army.

The 13th round of Corps Commander-level talks took place at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

The talks began at about 10.30 am and continued till 7.00 pm, and the Indian delegation is on its way back after completion of this round of the talks, they said.

The outcomes of the talks could not be immediately ascertained and the Indian Army is expected to release a statement on the deliberations soon.

The latest round of talks took place over three weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the two sides should work for an early resolution of the remaining issues in eastern Ladakh.

The two Ministers met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Dushanbe on September 16.

The 12th round of talks between the two sides were held on July 31 following which the two armies completed the disengagement process in Gogra, which was seen as a significant outcome of the series of the talks between the two sides.

At Sunday’s talks, the Indian delegation was led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps. The talks covered the unresolved friction areas like Hot Springs and 900 sq km Depsang Plains in which the Indian forces are unable to access the traditional patrolling points.

Besides the 13 rounds of Corps Commanders level talks, the sides have also held 10 Major General level talks, 55 Briagdier level confabulations and 1,450  calls over the hotlines set for border coordination between the two armies, sources here said.

On Saturday, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane had underscored that if the Chinese military continues with its large-scale deployment in the eastern Ladakh region, then the Indian Army too will maintain its strength on its side which he said is “as good as what the PLA has done.”

The fresh round of talks were held in the backdrop of two recent incidents of attempted transgressions by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with one in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and another in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

Both these transgressions were aimed at putting the Indian side under psychological pressure which was, however, resisted by the Indian side during the talks on Sunday.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh around 10 days back when the social media propaganda campaign was also launched by the PLA. The issue was resolved within a few hours following talks between commanders of the two sides as per established protocols.

Recently, close to 100 soldiers of PLA transgressed the LAC in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand. The Chinese troops returned from the area after spending a few hours.

India has been insisting that resolution of outstanding issues, including in Depsang and Hot Springs, is essential for an overall improvement in ties between the two countries.

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