Home >News >India >Talks between India and China over border tensions at an impasse

NEW DELHI : Attempts to reduce border tensions by India and China seemed to be deadlocked on Sunday, nearly a week after their military negotiators ended 11 hours of talks by reporting “a consensus to disengage".

There was no word on meetings in the coming days either at the military or diplomatic levels as soldiers from the two countries continued to stand head to head in the vast and inhospitable terrains of Ladakh.

The seeming impasse came as opposition against China’s aggressive policies towards its neighbours grew stronger over the weekend with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) demanding that Beijing settle a dispute over the South China Sea through the provisions of a 1982 treaty. While some Indian government officials were tight-lipped on whether talks to reduce tensions along their border would happen this coming week, others indicated that there was “no dialogue scheduled in the coming days".

After the last round of talks on 22 June, an Indian official said, senior military commanders of the two countries had arrived at a “mutual consensus to disengage" their forces, after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off with the Chinese on 15 June. China has not reported its casualties.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the sticking points to further dialogue was China’s failure to withdraw from new positions its troops had occupied on the banks of the Pangong Lake and in the Depsang plains on the north of the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

On Saturday, Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force’s Twitter handle put out pictures of two naval vessels, Kashima and Shimayuki, in exercises with the Indian Navy’s Rana and Kulish in the Indian Ocean.

“JMSDF promoted mutual understanding with Indian Navy through this exercise," read the caption. A news report in the Nikkei Asian Review on Saturday said Japan’s defence ministry was to establish a new team to deal with the Indo-Pacific affairs as part of its efforts to advance a regional strategy involving the US, India and Australia. The move “reflects the importance Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government places on its ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’ at a time when China’s maritime presence is attracting renewed attention," the report said.

Asean on Saturday said a 1982 UN oceans treaty should be the basis of sovereign rights and entitlements in the South China Sea—a key waterway in the Pacific—over which China and many nations within the Asean are locked in dispute. It was referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A report by AP news agency said the Asean statement marked a significant strengthening of its assertion of the rule of law in the disputed region where China has in recent years taken aggressive steps to bolster its sovereignty claims.

Last week, US secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was looking to move some of its troops to the Indo-Pacific region in response to Chinese aggression against countries such as India, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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