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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

India and China will soon hold another round of talks aimed at achieving complete disengagement and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.

The border standoff along the LAC in Ladakh where both sides have deployed tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery and armoured vehicles, has entered its seventh month. Recent reports had suggested the two sides are considering several proposals for thinning troops at some friction points but are yet to make a breakthrough.

The eighth round of talks between senior military commanders of the two sides, which was held in Chushul on November 6, was also joined by joint secretary (East Asia) Naveen Srivastava of the external affairs ministry.

“The objective of these discussions is to ensure complete disengagement and full restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in the western sector,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing.

“We will continue our dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels and have also agreed to have another round of talks soon with a view to achieve this objective,” he added.

Srivastava described discussions during last round of talks between the military commanders as “candid, in-depth and constructive” and said both sides had exchanged views on “disengagement at all friction points along the LAC in the western sector”.

There were expectations that the ninth round of talks between the military commanders would be held last week but the two sides are yet to finalise dates for the meeting.

With no signs of an immediate breakthrough in efforts to pull back troops, both India and China have made preparations for their forces to remain in place along the LAC by building new accommodation to protect them from the harsh winter, when temperatures plummet as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.

The top Indian and Chinese leadership have participated in several virtual meetings this month, including the summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) grouping, and the Indian side called for respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. The Indian leaders also emphasised the importance of a rules-based order at these meetings.