Despite India-China WMCC meet for border de-escalation, stand-off continues
India-China WMCC meet: Despite the India-China Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) meeting to resolve the ongoing border issue, the stand-off between the neighbouring countries continues. Neither of the nation has taken back its troops from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at eastern Ladakh border, adding to the existing tension. An open source intelligence Twitter handle @detresfa_ shared a satellite image from the European Space Agency showing the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, which has been a face-off site of India and China, in its “winter transformation”.
The friction between the two side started building up in May and led to an armed skirmish on June 15-16 which caused death of 20 Indian soldiers, although the China also lost some of its soldiers but the Chinese foreign ministry refused the give out the exact number of Chinese casualties. Since then both the nations have conducted various talks both at military and diplomatic level, aiming to achieve complete disengagement of troops at LAN near the Ladakh border.
The Friday WMCC negotiation was another attempt made towards “the disengagement of frontline troops” and focused on bringing in “concrete measures to deal with the issues on the ground to further deescalate the border situation”. The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Naveen Srivastava, joint secretary (East Asia) of the external affairs ministry, and Hong Liang, director general of the department of boundary and oceanic affairs of China’s foreign ministry.
Post the meeting, both the sides issued a statement, which said, “Both sides agreed to maintain close consultations at the diplomatic and military level. They agreed that the next (9th) round of Senior Commanders meeting should be held at an early date so that both sides can work towards early and complete disengagement of troops along the LAC in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols, and fully restore peace and tranquillity.”
The readout from the Chinese embassy said, that both the nations had “agreed to earnestly implement the five-point consensus reached between the foreign ministers of both countries” during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting held in Moscow in September.
With regard to the recent round of talks, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told reporters, “It is our expectation that further discussions will help both sides to achieve an agreement on a mutually acceptable solution for ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western sector and full restoration of peace and tranquillity as early as possible.”
As per the last military meeting between army commanders of both the sides, held on November 6, neither of the side was willing to budge from their respective positions. Many observers believed that Indian Rafael deal contributed to flaring up of the situation, Soon after the deal, Indian defence ministry said that the fighter planes had “already flown and familiarised with our operational environment” without specifically mentioning Ladakh. “(The Rafales) have undergone intense integrated training with other combat fleets including firing of advanced weapons,” that statement added.