India and China will tomorrow hold the ninth round of senior commander level talks at Moldo, on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in yet another attempt to resolve the ongoing military stand-off at eastern Ladakh.
The talks, expected to begin in the morning, will focus on disengagement and de-escalation of troops, leading to peace and tranquility in border areas, sources said.
Lt General PGK Menon, commander of the Leh based 14 Corps that oversees the Ladakh sector, will lead the Indian delegation at the talks.
There have been no talks between the two sides on the border row for more than a month now. The last meeting between the two countries was held on 18 December when their senior diplomats met under the framework of the Working mechanism for Coordination and Consultation (WMCC) in border areas.
The meeting had failed to make much headway on resolving the border stalemate. The last round of commanders’ level meeting was held on 6 November.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had yesterday stated that the two sides were in close communication and the senior commanders’ meet ing would be held soon.
Tensions between the two countries began in April-May last year when New Delhi detected incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh along with a massive deployment of Chinese military personnel. India too quickly moved in its troops to counter further incursions.
Previous rounds of military talks have failed to yield any consensus on the pull back of troops, with both sides having some 50,000 personnel each along the LAC.
Relations between the two countries plummeted to a new low following a violent clash between their troops at the Galwan valley on 15 June, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side. Meanwhile, in a clear message to China, Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane last week said India is committed to resolve the eastern Ladakh standoff through talks but no one should make any mistake of testing its patience.
The Indian Army is ready to stand its ground in eastern Ladakh for as long as it takes to resolve the standoff, Naravane said, acknowledging that China is “manifesting itself” on the ground but added that the Indian forces are prepared to handle any eventuality.
After an initial round of disengagement in early July, the Chinese stepped back from the base of Finger 4 to Finger 5, and Indian troops moved to Finger 3. But the Chinese refused to vacate the ridge of Finger 4, and have been there ever since.