Amid ongoing border tensions, the Indian army and Chinese military commanders are set to begin the 14th round of military commanders-level talks today. The Senior Highest Military Commander Level (SHMCL) talks were scheduled to begin at around 9:30 am.
According to top defence experts, the ongoing negotiations between the two countries are to keep the doors for future dialogue open, however, nothing substantial is going to come out with these military talks. Only political dialogue between the two countries can help reach an agreeable ground.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the major focus of the talks will be on disengagement in the Hot Springs area. The Indian delegation at the talks is being led by Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta, the newly-appointed Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps. The Chinese team was to be headed by South Xinjiang Military District Chief Maj Gen Yang Lin.
The Indian side is expected to insist on disengagement as soon as possible in all the remaining friction points including resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.
The 13th round of talks had taken place on October 10 and they ended in a stalemate. Both sides failed to make any headway in the talks with the Indian Army saying after the dialogue that the ‘constructive suggestions' made by it were neither agreeable to the Chinese side nor it could provide any ‘forward-looking' proposals.
The fresh talks are taking place days after India hit out at China for building a bridge across Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh and said it is in an area that has been under illegal occupation of that country for around 60 years.
Last week, India also described China's renaming of some places in Arunachal Pradesh as a ‘ridiculous exercise' to support ‘untenable territorial' claims, asserting that the state has always been and will always remain an ‘inalienable' part of India.
In their virtual diplomatic talks on November 18, India and China agreed to hold the 14th round of military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The eastern Ladakh border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas. Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.
Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.