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13th round of military talks with China soon: Army Chief

The Indian and Chinese forces, with their troops and tanks, had been stationed just a few hundred meters apart in this area till February.

The 13th round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China could take place in the second week of October, Army Chief General M M Naravane has said.

On the Pakistan front, he said, there have been two ceasefire violations in the last 10 days, after nearly seven months of calm along the Line of Control. Gen Naravane shared these details in an interview with news agency ANI in eastern Ladakh, where he is on a two-day visit. “The situation over the last six months or so has been quite normal. The talks have been going on for more than a year now,” he said. “We are hopeful to have the 13th round of talks very soon, perhaps as soon as next week — in the second week of October. We are confident that as we discuss things with each other, we will be able to reach a consensus on how this disengagement will take place.” The Army Chief expressed confidence that “by and by, all the friction points will get resolved”. He said “even when the talks had started, people were doubtful whether talks will resolve anything”, and mentioned that he was of the “firm opinion that we can resolve our differences through dialogue, and that is what has happened over the last few months.” Gen Naravane said he is “hopeful” that there will be results.

The last round of talks took place on July 31, after which the two sides had stepped back from Gogra Post, going back to their traditional bases and creating a temporary no-patrolling zone. India and China have been involved in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh for almost 17 months now. While the two sides disengaged from most friction points, including Galwan Valley, north and south banks of pangog , and Gogra Post, a small number of Chinese troops continue to be on the Indian side of the Hot Springs.

Speaking about China’s larger deployment along the entire LAC, Naravane said, “the Chinese have deployed in considerable numbers all across eastern Ladakh; not only in eastern Ladakh, all across the northern front, right up to our Eastern Command also (meaning Arunachal Pradesh). So definitely there has been an increase in their deployment in forward areas, which remains a matter of concern for us. We are regularly monitoring all their movements.” “Based on inputs we get we’re also carrying out matching developments both in infrastructure as well in terms of troops needed to counter any threat. We are, I think, at the moment quite well poised to meet any eventuality,” he said. On the ceasefire agreement with Pakistan, which the Directors-General Military Operations (DGMO) of Indian and Pakistani armies had reaffirmed in February, Gen Naravane said the situation is now regressing. “Ceasefire understanding was reached towards the end of February. Till end-June (or) beginning (of) July, there were no ceasefire violations whatsoever. But of late there have been increased infiltration attempts that weren’t supported by ceasefire violations. In the last 10 days there have been two ceasefire violations.”

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