In the backdrop of fresh tensions over the clash between their troops in the Tawang sector, India and China on Tuesday held the 17th round of high-level military talks on the eastern Ladakh border standoff. However, there was no indication of any forward movement in resolving the remaining issues.
A joint statement issued on Thursday said both sides exchanged views in an “open and constructive” manner to resolve the “relevant issues” and that it was agreed to maintain “security and stability” on the ground in the region. The senior military officers of the two sides held the dialogue at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and it lasted for around 10 hours.
The talks took place 11 days after the clash at the Yangtse area along the LAC in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. It is learnt that the Indian side insisted on resolving the issues at the remaining friction points of Demchok and Depsang in eastern Ladakh as soon as possible.
In line with a decision taken at the 16th round of military talks, the two sides carried out disengagement from Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hotsprings area in September. “In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector,” the joint statement said.
Replying to a query on whether the Tawang incident was flagged by the Indian side at the military talks, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said he would not like to speculate as he does not have a confirmation on it.
Addressing a seminar in the national capital on Thursday, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said “critical deficiencies” of the Indian Air Force, like shortage of fighter squadrons and force multipliers, must be addressed on priority so that the force retains its combat edge. His comments come amid mounting concerns over China boosting its air power rapidly.
The Chief of the Air Staff said India’s neighbourhood continues to remain volatile and uncertain and that the country must enhance its collective strength by partnering with nations which share common beliefs and values.