China-India border negotiations inconclusive but further talks confirmed

China and India fought a conflict over a disputed border in the Himalayas in 1962

Army officers from India and China meet in the Pangong lake region, in the disputed Ladakh border area, last year. AP
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Talks between military commanders of China and India to resolve a two-year border dispute were inconclusive, the two countries have said.

A quick resolution of the border dispute would help “facilitate progress in bilateral relations,” the two sides said in a joint statement.

This round of talks — the 15th since the dispute began in the summer of 2020 — like the previous two rounds, ended without any agreement to pull back troops from friction points along the disputed Himalayan border.

China and India, however, agreed to meet again, the joint statement said, indicating a willingness on both sides to give diplomacy a chance to resolve the conflict even as troops remain stationed toe to toe along the border for the second year.

The two countries share a 3,488 kilometre border that runs along the Himalayas. As many as 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers were killed and both countries have moved thousands of troops, artillery guns, tanks and fighter jets to the border since March 2020.

In June 2020, India said that 20 of its soldiers had been killed in border clashes that involved clubs and hand to hand combat.

Tensions between the two countries remain, with India’s army chief recently citing the risk of Chinese aggression.

But the standoff along the border is still far from the peak of the crisis in 1962, when India constructed a series of military outposts along the disputed border and China sent armed patrols to confront the Indians.

Clashes escalated into a full-scale conflict in the contested Aksai Chin and Tawang district areas of the border, with some fighting occurring at extremely high altitude, more than 4,000 metres above sea level.

Estimates from both sides vary but at least 3,000 soldiers died in the conflict.

Updated: March 13, 2022, 6:15 AM