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India-China may hold 8th round of talks

India-China may hold 8th round of talks
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New Delhi: The eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China is likely to take place this week with a focus on carrying forward their discussions on the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh as the region enters the harsh winter season, government sources said.

There was no breakthrough on the disengagement of troops from the friction points during the seventh round of talks on October 12.

Both sides had maintained that the talks were "positive and constructive".

"The eighth round of military talks are likely to take place this week. The date is yet to be finalised," said a source.

A joint press statement by the two armies a day after the last round of talks said that both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement "as early as possible".

India has all along been maintaining that the onus is on China to carry forward the process of disengagement and de-escalation at the friction points in the mountainous region.

Following the sixth round of military talks, the two sides announced a slew of decisions including not to send more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may further complicate matters.

The sixth round of talks were held with a specific agenda of exploring ways to implement a five-point agreement reached between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow on September 10 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) conclave.

The pact included measures like quick disengagement of troops, avoiding action that could escalate tensions, adherence to all agreements and protocols on border management and steps to restore peace along the LAC.

The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated following at least three attempts by the Chinese soldiers to "intimidate" Indian troops along the northern and southern bank of Pangong lake area between August 29 and September 8 where even shots were fired in the air for the first time at the LAC in 45 years.

In the last three months, the Indian Army rushed tanks, heavy weaponry, ammunition, fuel, food and essential winter supplies to various treacherous and high-altitude areas of the region to maintain combat readiness through the harsh winter of around four months starting around mid-October.

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