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India, China’s top generals hold talks at Himalayan border amid efforts to defuse month-long stand-off

10:33 | 07/06/2020

Top generals from China and India met on Saturday for talks amid a fresh diplomatic effort to resolve a month-long stand-off between their troops along their shared border in the Himalayas.

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While countries were tight-lipped about the discussions in the four-hour meeting, Indian sources indicated that a statement might be issued late on Saturday night after the high-level military and diplomatic deliberations.

Expectations were low in the Indian camp that the meeting would result in an immediate end to the stand-off, but Indian officials said New Delhi could gain a better understanding of the reasons behind Beijing’s aggressive posturing on the border, reported the South China Morning Post

india chinas top generals hold talks at himalayan border amid efforts to defuse month long stand off

An Indian Army truck crosses Chang la pass near Pangong Lake in Ladakh (Photo: AP)

The talks were held in the border outpost of Maldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two countries

The talks came after multiple local military level meetings failed to defuse the tension, which arose after troops from both sides were involved in scuffles in early May followed by Chinese intrusion in several border areas that New Delhi claims as its own, revealed international media.

Most of the 3,488km-long (2,167 miles) border between the two countries is disputed and non-demarcated.

india chinas top generals hold talks at himalayan border amid efforts to defuse month long stand off

Most of 3,488km-long (2,167 miles) border between the two countries is disputed and non-demarcated [File: Aijaz Hussain/AP]

In the meeting, the two sides decided to “handle their differences through peaceful discussions,” according to a statement released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Going into talks, Indian military sources had said that New Delhi would be pressing for the two militaries to go back to the positions that they had held before the stand-off and for the Chinese side to not make any fresh territorial claims. Moreover, a high-level meeting like this would help the Indian authorities deter, presented the South China Morning Post.

“It helps to create the right environment for a deeper discussion among officials. However, I don’t think China’s territorial offensive will end. Changing the status quo through incremental encroachment in the disputed territory has become a permanent feature of Chinese foreign policy and I do not see any signal of change in China’s behavior,” Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a senior international relations analyst added.“What will, most likely, happen is that both sides will get a better understanding of each other’s position and these outstanding issues will then have to be dealt with at different platforms, either diplomatically or politically,” said Sameer Patil, a Fellow of International Security Studies and a China-watcher at the Gateway House, a Mumbai-based think tank mine the reasons behind Chinese aggression.

The meeting takes place a day after Indian and Chinese ambassadors joined a video call between diplomats of their border working mechanism Friday to underline that “the two sides should handle their differences through peaceful discussion” and “not allow them to become disputes”. Officials cautioned against expectations of any immediate resolution, saying the Saturday meeting could be the first of several.

Earlier sources had told The Indian Express, the meeting would begin with the Indian side making the first submission, which will include asking both sides to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border, and to adhere to protocols and agreements signed by the two countries since 1993.

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