It also said that in diplomatic talks, India and China are reviewing the situation along Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh

Hours before the Quad summit, India on Friday held yet another round of talks with China to work out a “mutually acceptable” way to complete the withdrawal of troops from the remaining face-off points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Senior diplomats of India and China held the 21st meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) virtually. The two nations agreed to continue talks to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points at the earliest, said a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.

New Delhi’s latest engagement with Beijing to resolve the 11-month-long military stand-off along the LAC took place just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the United States President Joe Biden for the first virtual summit of the Quad – a coalition forged by the four nations to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.

Naveen Srivastava, Additional Secretary (East Asia) at the MEA, led the delegation from India. Hong Liang, the Director General of the Boundary and Oceanic Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the delegation of the Chinese government.

The two sides agreed that the completion of the disengagement in the North and South Bank of Pangong Lake provided a good basis for them to work towards an early resolution of the remaining issues, according to the MEA statement. They also agreed that the consensus reached between the two Foreign Ministers, S Jaishankar and Wang Yi, during their meeting in Moscow in September 2020 and the phone-call between them last month should continue to guide the work of the two sides to resolve the stand-off.

India and China reviewed the situation along the LAC in the western sector and had in-depth discussions on the remaining issues and agreed that the two sides should continue their dialogue to reach a mutually acceptable solution for complete disengagement from all friction points at the earliest.

“This would enable two sides to look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas. They also agreed that in the interim two sides should continue to maintain stability at ground level and prevent any untoward incident,” the MEA stated in New Delhi.

The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) last month withdrew frontline troops from the northern and the southern banks of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh. The mutual disengagement from both banks of the lake raised hope for an early end to the military stand-off, which had started in late April in 2020 and took the bilateral relations to a new low over the past 11 months. The senior military commanders of the two sides had started a discussion for withdrawal of troops from other face-off points along the LAC like Hot Springs, Depsang and Gogra Post, but have not yet been able to work out a mutually acceptable plan.

Indian and Chinese diplomats on Friday also agreed that the senior commanders of the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA would soon meet again near the LAC to discuss the complete disengagement of frontline troops from the remaining face-off points along the de facto boundary between the two nations. The next meeting of the senior military commanders of the two sides will be the 11th one since the stand-off began.