Indian and Chinese military commanders agreed to "earnestly implement the important consensus reached by leaders of two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments,” a joint statement by India and China said on Tuesday, 22 September, a day after the sixth round of commander-level talks were held between the two sides.
The two nations also agreed to “stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation," the statement added.
What the Joint Statement Says
"On 21 September, the Indian and Chinese Senior Commanders held the 6th round of military commander-level meeting. The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas," the joint statement read.
The two sides also agreed to hold the seventh round of such talks "as soon as possible," with the statement further pointing towards a consensus between the two sides to take "practical measures" to solve problems on the ground and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.
The meeting near the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to discuss the months-long standoff lasted for more than 10 hours, starting around 10 am and ending around 11 at night, reports said.
The delegation was headed by 14 Corps commander Lt General Harinder Singh and this time, also included a senior Ministry of External Affairs official – Joint Secretary, East Asia, Navin Srivastava.
The meeting came amid fresh tensions along the LAC in the last few weeks, especially focused on the Pangong Tso. The tensions between the two countries earlier escalated in June, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash.
A high level debriefing also took place at the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday, reported The Print, citing sources.
External Affairs Ministry (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said, on 17 September, that both India and China ought to focus on easing tensions in the friction areas.
Developments Since Doklam
NDTV, meanwhile, said in a report that the Doklam crisis of 2017 “appears to have shifted China's strategic objectives, with China more than doubling its total number of air bases, air defence positions and heliports near the Indian border over the past three years".
The report further quoted Sim Tack, a senior global analyst with global geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor, as saying:
“The timing of the Chinese build-up of military facilities along the border with India just prior to the ongoing Ladakh standoff suggests these border tensions are part of a much larger effort by China to assert control over its border regions.”
China’s military infrastructure upgrade is not even complete yet, the report added.