India, China to hold 9th round of military talks on Sunday to resolve border dispute

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing border row at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India and China will hold the 9th round of corps commander level military talks on Sunday (January 24, 2021) to yield concrete outcome to resolve the standoff in Eastern Ladakh.

The military talks between the two nuclear-powered countries will likely begin at around 9.30 AM in Moldo, which is opposite the Chushul sector on the Indian side of the border.
The latest round of talks will take place after more than two months as the last time they had met to resolve the dispute was in November 2020. 

The border standoff that started in April/May in 2020, intensified after the Galwan valley incident in June where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action and an undisclosed number of China’s People Liberation Army troops also died in the man-to-man combat.

Back in November 2020, the last corps commander level talks witnessed ‘both sides agreeing to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and to ensure their frontline troops to exercise restraint and avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said, “India and China agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels and taking forward the discussions at this meeting, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas. India and China also agreed to have another round of meeting soon.”

This is to be noted that along with the military round of talks, both sides are also continuing to engage themselves through diplomatic channels – Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC).

The last round of WMCC took place in December 2020, during which, the two sides had agreed to hold the next round of Senior Commanders’ meeting.

Meanwhile, the ‘Exercise Desert Knight-21’ held in Jodhpur by the air forces of India and France concluded, following which, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Saturday said that eight Rafale aircraft have already arrived in India and three more are expected by the end of this month. 

Bhadauria also said that the IAF has initiated a fifth-generation fighter aircraft programme with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and plans to incorporate some sixth-generation capabilities in it as well.

The IAF chief said, “Our present vision is to incorporate all the latest technologies and sensors in our fifth-generation aircraft. We started work on fifth-generation aircraft a little late. So technologies and sensors contemporary to that period of development would be added into fifth-generation fighters.”

Earlier on January 12, the Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that Pakistan and China together form a ‘potent’ threat, and the ‘threat of collusivity’ cannot be wished away.

General Naravane had said, “Pakistan and China together form a potent threat and the threat of collusivity cannot be wished away. Pakistan continues to embrace terrorism. We have zero-tolerance for terror. We reserve our right to respond at a time and place of our own choosing and with precision. This is a clear message we have sent across.”

Talking about increasing security challenges at the LAC, Naravane stated that a need was felt about ‘rebalancing’ of troops along the northern borders, adding ‘that is what we have put in place now’.

The Chief of Army staff said he was hopeful that India and China will be able to reach an agreement for disengagement and de-escalation based on an approach of mutual and equal security. He added, “I am confident of finding a solution to the issue on the basis of mutual and equal security.” 

The same day, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat and RKS Bhadauria had also visited Ladakh sector and reviewed the operational preparedness at LAC.

As per a report, over 50,000 Indian Army troops are currently deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures. 

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