India says maintaining communications with China for complete disengagement at LAC

India on Friday said it was maintaining communications with China for complete disengagement at friction points in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) against the backdrop of a stalemate in efforts aimed at ensuring de-escalation.

At a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on border affairs on December 18, the two sides reviewed developments on the LAC and agreed to hold another meeting between senior military commanders at an early date. However, the commanders are yet to meet, reflecting the differences between the two sides.

“As you are aware, the latest round of WMCC was held on December 18. The two sides have agreed to hold the next round of senior commanders meeting and are in constant communication through diplomatic and military channels in this regard,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing.

“In the meantime, both sides have maintained communication at the ground level to avoid any misunderstandings and misjudgements even as discussions continue for achieving complete disengagement in all friction areas in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements to restore peace and tranquillity,” he said, without giving details.

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The two sides had earlier acknowledged that talks between the military commanders had contributed to stability on the ground. The last two meetings between the military commanders were held on October 12 and November 6.

Tens of thousands of troops from both sides have dug in along the LAC in sub-zero conditions after diplomatic and military talks failed to take forward disengagement at friction points in Ladakh sector. External affairs minister S Jaishankar has said bilateral ties were “very significantly damaged” by Beijing’s violation of border agreements, and that the deployment of thousands of soldiers on the LAC had pushed relations into their most difficult phase ever.

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