Wed, 20 Jul 2022 11:26 AM IST
Top military commanders of the Indian Army and China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) held the 16th round of talks last Sunday to resolve differences along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. Although the 12-and-half-hour talks failed to end the deadlock, the two sides agreed to maintain dialogue to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution at the earliest.
"Building on the progress made at the last meeting on 11th March 2022, the two sides continued discussions for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in a constructive and forward-looking manner," the two sides said in a joint statement.
"They had a frank and in-depth exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the state leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest," the statement read.
India and China have been engaged in a standoff since May 2020, which had intensified and brought the two nations on a brink of a war after the Galwan Valley standoff in which 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel-rank officer, were killed.
Although tensions have defused significantly, the two sides have failed to resolve issues at some of the friction points, including Patrolling Point 15.
CAN THE 16th ROUND OF TALKS HELP INDIA, CHINA DEFUSE TENSIONS?
India's hopes to resolve differences through talks, but experts believe that China cannot be trusted. Here it is noteworthy to mention that multiple provocative activities by the Chinese Air Force on the LAC was recorded before the 16th round of talks.
Days later, new satellite images emerged, indicating the construction of a Chinese village East of the Doklam plateau on the Bhutanese side, a region that is considered important for India's strategic interest.
The Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a 73-day stand-off at the Doklam tri-junction after China tried to extend a road in the area that Bhutan claimed belonged to it.
The NDTV came out with the images captured by MAXAR, a company that focuses on space technology and intelligence, and said the village is fully inhabited with cars parked at the doorstep of virtually every home.
It said alongside the village is a neatly marked all-weather carriageway, which is part of China's "extensive land grab" in Bhutan. The road could give China access to a strategic ridge in the Doklam plateau.
"The new satellite images, sourced from Maxar, indicate that a second village in the Amo Chu river valley is now virtually complete while China has stepped up construction of a third village or habitation further South," the NDTV said in its report.
These activities, experts say, confirm that China cannot be trusted. However, they say that India's "message to China is strong".
"Chinese army has been strengthening their position in the areas they have occupied. From the fact that they have strengthened their position, it seems unlikely that they will go back. We can certainly expect some kind of disengagement. Other issues may take some more time," said Major General SB Asthana (Retd) told news agency ANI.
"Both sides are giving strong messages. In this manner, the Chinese have flown aircraft where they are not supposed to be. And I think we should be talking of areas as no-fly zones, especially in areas where we are talking and where the recent incursion took place. So, therefore, under these circumstances, we are also quite ready in a manner that there is an array of radars. There is a very good surveillance system and air defence system. And the Chinese army if they try what they had been trying in the South China Sea and Taiwan, they will certainly be dealt with by the professional air force (India). So it’s slightly different messaging."
(With inputs from agencies)