India, China inch closer to disengagement at Gogra-Hot Springs, no headway in Depsang | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: India and China have inched closer to completing the stalled troop disengagement at Gogra and Hot Springs in eastern Ladakh, though there was no headway in resolving the much more crucial Depsang standoff during the top-level military dialogue last week, sources said on Monday.
A bland joint statement issued on Monday, without specifying any location or place, stated the two countries agreed during the 12th round of corps commander-level talks on July 31 to resolve “the remaining issues” in the 15-month long military confrontation in eastern Ladakh in an “expeditious manner” in accordance with existing agreements and protocols.
The nine-hour military dialogue was “constructive”, which “further enhanced mutual understanding”, with “a candid and in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, added the statement.
Sources, in turn, said “some progress” has been made towards resolving the faceoff at patrolling points (PPs) 15, 17 and 17A in the Hot Springs-Gogra-Kongka La area in a phased manner.
“There is cautious optimism because even a joint statement was not issued after the 11th round on April 9. But we have to wait and watch how it translates on the ground, especially since the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had agreed to disengage from Gogra and Hot Springs twice last year but eventually did not. Depsang and Demchok will take much longer to sort out,” said a source.
The joint statement said the two countries agreed to keep “the momentum of dialogue and negotiations” going, while continuing with their “effective efforts” in ensuring stability along the LAC and jointly maintaining peace and tranquility in the interim.
The corps commander-level meeting on Saturday, almost four months after the last round, came after external affairs minister S Jaishankar held an hour-long meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization conclave at Dushanbe in Tajikistan on July 14.
Earlier, on June 25, India and China had also virtually conducted the 22nd meeting of the diplomatic Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC).
During the military dialogue, India had raised the need to complete the stalled disengagement at Gogra and Hot Springs, while also calling for the “restoration of unhindered patrolling rights” in the strategically-located Depsang Bulge region, with the bottom-line being restoration of the status quo as it existed in April 2020.
The PLA has been blocking Indian troops patrols in the ‘Bottleneck’ area of Depsang, which is 18-km inside what India perceives to be its territory, from going to their traditional PPs-10, 11, 11A, 12, and 13 in the region since April last year.
India has been repeatedly stressing that troop disengagement from the “remaining friction points”, followed by de-induction and the consequent de-escalation, is critical for improvement in bilateral ties. But China wants the border row to be kept at an “appropriate place”, without it impinging on the overall ties.

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