The two sides said Monday that talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to withdraw soldiers from major friction areas along their border had come to a halt, failing to end a 17-month impasse that has occasionally resulted in fatal confrontations.
Because of the ongoing stalemate, the two countries would maintain troops in Ladakh’s advanced areas for a second straight winter in extremely cold conditions.
In a statement, India’s defense ministry claimed it made “constructive ideas,” but China was “unwilling” and “could not give any forward-looking solutions.” “The Indian side continues to outrageous and unrealistic demands, creating obstacles to the discussions,” a Chinese military spokeswoman said in a statement.
After a two-month hiatus, the chiefs of both forces gathered for discussions on Sunday in Moldo, China’s Ladakh region.
Both India and China have removed soldiers from several faceoff locations on the northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso, Gogra, and Galwan Valley since February, but they have kept additional troops on standby as part of a multi-tier deployment.
According to Indian media sources, troops have been deployed to the Demchok and Depsang Plains.
The Indian army commander conveyed his displeasure with the Chinese side’s “large deployment of soldiers and armaments” at Sunday’s discussions.
“Yes, the large-scale buildup has occurred and continues to be a source of concern,” Gen. M.M. Naravane stated on Saturday, “and to sustain that sort of buildup, there has been an equal level of infrastructure development on the Chinese side.”
“In other words, they (China) are here to stay.” “We’re keeping a careful eye on all of these developments,” he added, “but if they’re here to stay, we’re here to stay as well.”
“China’s commitment to protect its sovereignty is unshakable,” said Senior Col. Long Shaohua of the Western Theater Command in a statement. “China hopes India would not misinterpret the situation.”
Around January, temperatures in Ladakh’s forward parts plunge to 30 degrees below zero Celsius (22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit). Around this time, both sides’ forces used to retire to their regular summer holding positions, but since the conflict began in May 2020, they have remained close to the disputed boundary.
Both nations have tens of thousands of soldiers stationed along the de facto border known as the Line of Actual Control, backed up by artillery, tanks, and fighter planes. Last year, 20 Indian soldiers were murdered in a border fight with Chinese forces involving clubs, stones, and fists. China has confirmed the loss of four soldiers.
From Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety, the Line of Actual Control divides Chinese and Indian-held territory. In 1962, India and China waged a devastating border war.
The Chinese have been constructing hundreds of huge weather-proof shelters along the LAC in eastern Ladakh for their troops to remain in during the winter since the stalemate began last year. Indian media have also reported about new helipads, wider airstrips, new barracks, new surface-to-air missile positions, and radar stations.