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India, China military officials hold 'positive' talks to end border row

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian soldiers pay their respects during the funeral of a comrade, in Leh, India, on September 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Indian and Chinese military commanders have held “positive, constructive” talks on disengaging troops at their remote contested Himalayan border.

“They were of the view that these discussions were positive, constructive and had enhanced understanding of each other’s positions,” the two sides said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

A separate statement released by the Indian government also said that the discussions focused on disengaging troops locked in a months-long standoff at the disputed frontier.

“The two sides had a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.”

Senior commanders from both sides held a seventh round of talks at Chushul in the western Himalayas that lasted more than 10 hours on Monday.

In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a skirmish in the Galwan Valley, a precipitous and rocky border area that lies between China’s Tibet and India’s Ladakh regions. There were no reports of Chinese casualties. Each side blamed the other for the incident.

That was the first such deadly clash at the disputed border in the western Himalayas since 1967. 

The governments of the two nuclear armed powers are now seeking to reach an agreement on ways to pull back troops from across the disputed border.

If Beijing and New Delhi agree to an incremental withdrawal from front-line positions, the next step would be for the pullout of all the additional forces and military equipment that had been deployed in the region after the recent clash.

The two Asian powerhouses have been engaged in a protracted dispute over the Line of Actual Control frontier that divides their long joint border. They have also fought a brief war back in 1962.

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